Press Release

Minister for Health welcomes the first meeting of the new HSE Board – Enhanced HSE governance and accountability marks a key Sláintecare deliverable 

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has met with the new HSE Board members today (Friday) prior to the inaugural meeting of the Board.

This week, the Minister signed a commencement order for the Health Service Executive (Governance) Act 2019 which formally establishes the HSE Board with effect from 28th June 2019.

To mark this, the HSE Board held its first statutory meeting in Dr Steevens’ Hospital and the Minister met with the Board this morning.

The Minister said “I am very pleased to be here today at this important and significant event. The establishment of a Board will assist us in improving oversight and governance in our health service.

“I have no doubt this will be a challenging role but it is also a very important one. I want to thank the chair and the ten members for putting themselves forward and I look forward to working with them to improving and reforming the health service for our patients.”

The Board currently consists of the Chair, Mr Ciarán Devane and ten other members with an additional member to be appointed in the near future. Given the size and complexity of the health service, the appointees reflect the range of competencies including corporate governance, strategic planning and financial management necessary to enable the Board to govern and lead the HSE.

The recent appointment of Mr Paul Reid as CEO of the Health Service Executive is another key driver of change and improvement for the health service.

“Given the challenging but exciting tasks ahead of us in implementing Sláintecare, it is significant that the Board includes representatives of patient advocates and health professionals.

“This will ensure the patient’s voice and the voice of health professionals are embedded in the reform of our health service. This Board will be a key component in strengthening HSE governance and will contribute to enhancing the oversight and performance of the HSE” the Minister continued.

The Board was appointed on an administrative basis earlier this year and has been meeting in advance of today’s formal meeting to prepare for the commencement of the legislation.

The Board members are:

• Ciarán Devane, Chairperson, Chief Executive of the British Council
• Prof Deirdre Madden, Deputy Chairperson, Professor of law at UCC and chair of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance.
• Fergus Finlay, former CEO of Barnardos
• Tim Hynes, Group Chief Information Officer, AIB
• Brendan Lenihan, Managing Director, Navigo Consulting and Chartered Accountant
• Dr Sarah McLoughlin, Science and Communication Officer at Retina International & patient advocate
• Mark Molloy, Quantity Surveyor, member of the Expert Group on Tort Reform and Management of Clinical Negligence Claims & patient advocate
• Aogán Ó Fearghail, former GAA President
• Professor Fergus O’Kelly, Clinical Professor General Practice / Family Medicine, Trinity College Dublin
• Fiona Ross, chair of CIE and Mental Health Ireland
• Dr Yvonne Traynor, vice president of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs with Kerry Group


Notes to the Editor

The legislation provides for 12 Board members. The appointment of an additional member of the health profession is due to take place in the near future.

Journalists are asked to send all press queries to or by phone to 01 635 4477 rather than directly to selected members.


Ciarán Devane – Chairperson

Mr Devane is Chief Executive of the British Council, a £1.2b public body with 12,000 staff in 115 countries. He was a member of a Board of NHS England from 2012 -2015 and was also Chief Executive of the UK health charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. He was knighted for his services to cancer patients.

Professor Deirdre Madden – Deputy Chairperson
Deirdre Madden BCL, LLM, BL, PhD is Professor of law at University College Cork. Her research interests are healthcare law and ethics. She was the author of the Madden Report on Post Mortem Practice, chaired the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance, and has been a member of numerous expert groups providing expertise on issues related to medical law, ethics and patient safety.

Professor Madden also has extensive experience of professional regulation. Most recently she was a member of the Independent Review Group examining the role of voluntary organisations in health and social care.

Fergus Finlay
Fergus Finlay has recently retired after 13 years as CEO of Barnardos, Ireland’s largest children’s charity. For around twenty years prior to that he was employed as Senior Adviser to the Labour Party. He was one of the drafters of the Downing Street Declaration and was centrally involved in the election of President Mary Robinson. He also served as a Director of Wilson Hartnell Public Relations. He is the author of four best-selling books.

He has been a life-long campaigner for the rights of people with disabilities and is currently chair of a government task force to implement a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities. For ten years he has also worked as Chair of the Dolphin House Regeneration Board. He is also Chair of Lakers in Bray, a highly successful club and service provider for young people and adults with an intellectual disability. He broadcasts regularly on radio and television and contributes a weekly column to the Irish Examiner. Fergus Finlay was awarded a Human Rights Award by the French Embassy in Dublin in 2013 to recognise the work of Barnardos with Ireland’s children. He was also honoured by UCC as an Outstanding Alumnus in 2016.

Tim Hynes
Tim Hynes, Group Chief Information Officer for AIB, has a broad range of experience across a number of disciplines, including brand marketing, operations, change management, and technology. He has 30 years’ experience in blue chip organisations where he has held both regional and global roles, leading teams spread across more than 40 countries.

Tim holds a Masters in Executive Leadership from Ulster University, is a qualified bank director, and Fellow of the Irish Computer Society.

Mr Brendan Lenihan
Brendan Lenihan is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and has over 25 years of experience in the profession. His career includes being a partner in the accountancy firm Arthur Andersen, with whom he worked in Dublin and New York. In addition to a lengthy advisory career across a very broad range of sectors, he also held senior executive roles in industry as Group Finance Director at a large construction and property company (with operations in Ireland, UK and continental Europe) and also at a large care home provider. Since 2016, he has been Managing Director of Navigo Consulting, a specialist advisory firm in strategy, business planning and governance, serving private and public sector clients in Ireland and the UK by delivering advisory work on significant financial investments and business plans as well on improving board, organisational and financial effectiveness. Brendan is a non-executive Director of Bus Eireann and has held roles as an external member of the Audit & Risk Committees of the CIE Group and the Irish Dental Council.
In addition to his professional roles, Brendan will also bring to the HSE Board his experience of the charitable sector, particularly in the areas of mental health and homelessness. He is a national Trustee of Pieta House (which provides free nationwide support in the areas of suicide, self-harm and suicide bereavement) and is Chair of Pieta’s Audit & Risk Committee. He is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of Good Shepherd Cork, a charity that provides emergency shelter to homeless and vulnerable families through its Edel House refuge and the Cork family hub (operated on behalf of Cork City Council) and a number of other educational, emergency accommodation and aftercare services.

Brendan holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UCC, a Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting from UCD, and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland. He holds a Professional Diploma in Corporate Governance from UCD Smurfit Business School and is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Dr Sarah McLoughlin
Dr Sarah McLoughlin has a passion for ensuring patients and the public are a constructive voice in the research and healthcare conversation. Her work is driven by her cancer diagnosis in 2016 and enriched by her background in the biomedical research sector. Sarah is a graduate of the first ‘Patient Education Programme in Health Innovation’ in Ireland by IPPOSI.

She is currently Science and Communication Officer at Retina International, and participates in patient, clinical and research initiatives in cross-disease areas in Ireland.

Mark Molloy
Since the avoidable death of their infant son in January 2012, Mark Molloy and his wife Roisin, have been at the forefront of striving for improvements in patient safety, outcomes and experiences across all spectrums of healthcare provision in Ireland.

Their work to find the truth about Baby Mark’s death highlighted many areas in the health service that were having a negative impact on service users, including a lack of managerial accountability, no open disclosure, inadequate and inconsistent investigation processes, not learning from mistakes and the lack of compassion for patients.

Over the past seven years, the Molloys have worked with and provided independent support to service users who have been harmed by healthcare in Ireland, while also working closely with HIQA, the HPRA, and the Department of Health, on patient safety issues, policy and advocacy matters. They were instrumental in the establishment of the National Patient Safety Office.

Mark Molloy is a Quantity Surveyor by profession and has extensive experience in multi-million euro projects over the past 25 years in Ireland, the UK and Europe.

Aogán Ó Fearghail
Aogán Ó Fearghail was GAA President from 2015 to 2018. A former primary school Principal, he currently works as a School Placement Tutor with DCU.

As GAA President he led the association through a period of transformational change, establishing strong financial security and increasing participation rates with enhanced public confidence in the Association. He also, in conjunction with health promotion agencies, introduced a Health Promotion Unit at Croke Park and initiatives which focussed on physical and mental health issues.

Aogán has a lifetime experience of delivering transformational change at a national, regional and local level. He possesses wide experience of corporate governance, change management, financial planning and stakeholder management.

Professor Fergus O’Kelly
Clinical Professor General Practice / Family Medicine, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Professor Fergus O’Kelly is a retired Family Physician who formerly practiced in Rialto, Dublin.

Fergus is recognised as a leading figure in the development of Family Medicine in Ireland over the past four decades, where he has held numerous roles progressing the discipline of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

Fergus is passionate about Family Medicine training, having been involved since 1985, firstly as a Trainer, then as Assistant Director of the TCD / HSE training programme in Dublin, and as Director of the programme for 18 years.

Fergus is a Past President of the Irish College of General Practitioners (2015-2016) and was a member of the Governing Board of ICGP from 2014 to 2017. He has taught at both undergraduate and postgraduate level for many years and was made Clinical Professor at TCD in 2006.

Fergus has contributed to his discipline of Family medicine and represented that discipline at local, national and international level. Amongst his personal achievements, he founded the first ‘Out of Hours’ GP co-op services in Ireland and established a number of nurse-led chronic disease clinics.

In 2017 Fergus was the recipient of the Fiona Bradley Award, recognizing his commitment to serving Dublin’s vulnerable and deprived communities. This was presented at the joint scientific meeting of the Association of University Departments of General Practice in Ireland (AUDGPI) and the ICGP.

Fiona Ross
Recently appointed Chair of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), Fiona has served on 17 Boards in Ireland and the UK. She began her career as a stockbroker in the City of London and spent 25 years working in Capital Markets in Dublin, London, Eastern Europe and the US. A former Director/CEO of the National Library, Fiona also currently Chairs Mental Health Ireland.

Fiona currently lectures on Governance at the Irish Management Institute (IMI).

Dr Yvonne Traynor
Dr Yvonne Traynor is vice president of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs with Kerry Group since 2015. Prior to that, she held a number of global and regional leadership positions with German consumer goods company, Henkel. She has a particular interest in organisational transformation, risk management and delivering excellent customer experience.

She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin which, notably, resulted in a patent for the Nicotine Patch, as an aid for smoking cessation. Later, she obtained a Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance and an MSc in Executive Leadership. She is also a chartered director and has several years board experience, including the role of chairperson of the audit, risk and compliance committee of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.