Press Release

Minister Harney appoints new medical council with first lay majority

The Minister for Health & Children, Ms Mary Harney, T.D., today (16 May 2008) announced the appointments to the new Medical Council being established under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. The appointments are effective from the date of the first meeting of the Council to 31 May 2013.

The Minister said,

‘The health reform agenda of the Government is about setting standards of care and achieving best outcomes for patients.

‘A critical part of that is to modernise fully the regulation of the medical profession, to ensure that doctors remain highly competent throughout their careers and to investigate any professional malpractice fully, fairly and openly.

‘This is the role of the new Medical Council under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007. The Government brought forward this legislation as the first, complete modernisation of a 30 year-old previous Act.

‘The new Medical Council now has a lay majority for the first time, 13 lay members and 12 medical practitioners. We are applying this principle to the medical profession, as to other health professionals and non-health professionals. It is important for public confidence that members of a profession themselves do not have majority control in the governance of their regulatory body.

‘I firmly believe that the regulation of a profession will be enhanced by opening up the system to new ideas brought in by those who are not members of the profession itself. There are many interested parties and stakeholders who have an important role to play in the regulation of the medical profession, including patients, employers and other caring professions who work alongside doctors on a daily basis

‘In addition, the Act provides that Fitness to Practice hearings will be held in public as a normal matter.’

‘I am very grateful to all the members of the Medical Council for their willingness to give of their expertise and time to the sensitive and critical task of serving on the first new Medical Council. I assure them of my full support in their work ahead.’

The functions of the Council include the following:

•registration of medical practitioners;

•regulation of education and training of medical practitioners at all levels;

•matters relating to the recognition of qualifications of medical practitioners;

•setting of standards of practice (including advertising) and ethical guidance for medical practitioners;

•handling of complaints and inquiries relating to the conduct of medical practitioners;

•proactively advising the public on all matters of general interest relating to the functions of the Council, its area of expertise and the practice of medicine.

It is anticipated that the final member of the Council, to be nominated by the Royal Irish Academy, will be announced early next week.


Professor Paul Finucane Head of Medical School, University of Limerick
Professor William Powderly Head of Medical School, University College Dublin
Dr Diarmuid O’Donoghue Consultant Gastroenterologist, St Vincent’s Hospital
Mr Frank McManus Member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
Dr Richard Brennan General Practitioner, Co Kilkenny
Professor Kieran Murphy Consultant Psychiatrist, RCSI Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital
Dr John Peter James Monaghan Consultant in Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Portiuncula Hospital
Professor Anthony John Andrew Cunningham Consultant Anaesthetist, RCSI Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital
Dr Anna Teresa Clarke Faculty of Public Health Medicine, University College Dublin
Dr Eamann Sheosaimh Breatnach Director of Radiology, Mater Hospital
Dr Pauline Kane Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor, Beaumont Hospital
Professor Gerard Patrick Bury General Practitioner, Dublin
Mr Brendan Broderick CEO, Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary Services
Ms Mary Culliton Assistant National Director, Consumer Affairs, Health Service Executive
Ms Marie Murray Clinical Psychologist and Director of Student Counselling Services, University College Dublin
Mrs Anne Carrigy President, An Bord Altranais
Dr John O’Mullane Clinical Biochemist/Clinical Lecturer, University College Cork
Mr Jon Billings Director of Healthcare Quality, Health Information and Quality Authority
Dr Daniel O’Hare Chairman, Independent Hospitals Association of Ireland
Dr Deirdre Madden Lecturer in Faculty of Law, University College Cork. Medical Council member since 2004. Chair of the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance.
Ms Katharine Bulbulia Chair of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency. Former member of Seanad Eireann, Waterford County and City Councils and of the South-Eastern Health Board
Dr Regina Connolly Lecturer in Management Information Systems, Dublin City University with responsibility for postgraduate courses in Information Systems in the Business School. Also director of the MSc in Electronic Commerce degree programme.
Dr Damien P McLoughlin Senior Lecturer, Director of Academic Centre for Marketing Studies, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. Lectures in the healthcare programme in the marketing area.
Ms Margaret Murphy Leading advocate for improvements in Irish healthcare particularly in the area of service quality and patient safety. Member of International Steering Committee of the ‘Patients for Patient Safety’ strand of the WHO World Alliance for Patient Safety. Served on the Commission on Safety and Quality Assurance established in 2007.