Press Release

Tánaiste announces appointments to Irish Blood Transfusion Board

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., today (4th November 2004) announced the appointment of Ms Jane O’Brien, founder member of Positive Action, and Dr Mary Cahill, Consultant Haematologist in Cork University Hospital to the Board of the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.   She has also re-appointed Dr Helen Enright to the Board for a further three year term.  Dr Enright’s agreement to serve for a second term on the Board is an indication of her commitment to this key area of blood transfusion. The Tánaiste said “I am delighted that Ms O’Brien, and Dr Cahill have agreed to accept my invitation to join the Board of the IBTS and that Dr Enright has agreed to serve on it for another term.  Ms O’Brien’s background in active community involvement, together with the consultant based knowledge and expertise in the field of haematology of Doctors Cahill and Enright should be a major contribution to the effectiveness of the Board.”

Ms O’Brien was one of the founder members of Positive Action, the organisation established in 1994 to support and represent women infected with Hepatitis C through the blood product Anti-D Immunoglobulin.  Ms O’Brien served as Chairperson of Positive Action from 1994 to 1999.  She was also appointed to the Expert Group on Hepatitis C in 1997 and continues to serve on that Group.  The Tánaiste said “this appointment marks a new beginning, acknowledging that there is strength in forging partnerships with community leaders and in learning from the past, so as to ensure that the highest standards of excellence in transfusion medicine continue to be provided now and into the future”.

The Tánaiste also acknowledged the commitment shown by the staff of the IBTS to maintaining the quality of the blood transfusion service. The Tánaiste said “I wish to acknowledge the tremendous effort by the Service and its staff in managing change and in implementing a major re-organisation and redevelopment programme.”  There are significant challenges ahead for the IBTS, particularly as transfusion medicine continues to develop at a rapid pace and the pressure to maintain an adequate donor base gets ever more difficult. The priority for the Board and staff of the Service will be to meet these challenges with a continued commitment to excellence and customer service during a period of momentous structural and organizational reform not alone for the IBTS but also for the health service as a whole.