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Inaugural meeting of Healthy Ireland Council : Keith Wood Appointed Chair of the Healthy Ireland Council

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly today (Thursday 26 June 2014), speaking in advance of the first meeting of the Healthy Ireland Council in Dublin Castle, announced the appointment of Mr Keith Wood to the position of Chairperson of the Council. Mr Wood is a former Irish International rugby player and founding Director of W2 Consulting. Minister Reilly also announced the names of the 37 members of the Council and said that he was very impressed with the calibre of people who applied and were appointed.

President Michael D. Higgins has agreed to be the Patron of the Healthy Ireland Council.

“I am delighted that Keith Wood has accepted the position of Chairperson of the Healthy Ireland Council” said the Minister. “While he is best known as an outstanding sports star who did his province and country proud on many occasions, I am equally impressed by the commitment he has shown personally and in his business career to community and health related initiatives. I believe that given the passion and commitment he has displayed as a sportsman and the high esteem in which he is held by all sectors of society, Mr Wood is the ideal person to lead the important work that this Council will undertake in the coming years.”

Commenting on the appointment of Mr Wood and the Council members, An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny said "Healthy Ireland is an initiative aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Ireland now and for generations to come. I am delighted to see so many leaders from different walks of Irish life coming together to endorse, support and drive Healthy Ireland. I am delighted that Keith Wood has agreed to chair the Council and I wish him and the Council every success at its inaugural meeting today and in its important work over the years ahead."

Minister Reilly continued “The importance of the Healthy Ireland Council and its potential to contribute to the vision of a Healthy Ireland is underscored by the presence at today’s meeting of Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation. The Healthy Ireland Council is integral to delivering the “whole of society” approach to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation. I see the Council as the champions for delivering the vision of a Healthy Ireland, where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential, where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society.”

Thanking the Minister for appointing him as Chairperson, Keith Wood said “I am honoured to accept the role of Chairperson of the Healthy Ireland Council. I understand the challenge of improving the health and wellbeing of the people of Ireland and believe that the Council will bring a new approach to engaging all of society as agents of change. I look forward to playing my part in making health and wellbeing a priority for all of us and finding ways of encouraging everybody to understand the role they have to play in a healthier future.”


Note for Editors

Healthy Ireland: A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013-2025 ( was launched in March 2013. It provides a framework for action to improve the health and wellbeing of our population over the coming generation, to achieve a greater emphasis on prevention, early intervention and to support keeping individuals and communities well.

Healthy Ireland sets out a vision where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential, where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society and is everyone’s responsibility. The framework has four key goals:

• Increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life

• Reduce health inequalities

• Protect the public from threats to health and wellbeing

• Create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their part in achieving a healthy Ireland

Healthy Ireland aims to achieve these four key goals through better leadership and governance, better partnerships and better use of resources and evidence.

Healthy Ireland Council

Healthy Ireland proposes a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response to improving the health and wellbeing of Irish people over the coming generation. The establishment of the Healthy Ireland Council is the most significant action within Healthy Ireland to leverage engagement with whole-of-society. The Council will provide the platform to connect and mobilise communities, families and individuals into a national movement with one aim: supporting everyone to enjoy the best possible health and wellbeing.

The Council will be established for an initial 3-year period and comprises 36 members and a chairperson (membership list attached) from a wide range of sectors including the health sector, academia, older people, sport, non-government organisations, media, youth and diversity. They are recognised leaders and influencers in their respective fields who have a genuine passion for health and wellbeing.

Healthy Ireland Council Membership Mr Keith Wood

(Chair) Keith is a founding director of W2 Consulting which specialises in the area of project evaluation and strategic planning with a sector specialism in sport and facilities development. Keith is a former professional rugby player. He has been instrumental in the successful delivery of a range of sports and community facility projects and continues to commit time to a wide range of community projects. He was the inaugural winner of the International Rugby Board World Player of the Year in 2001. He sits on a number of boards that include Special Olympics Ireland Board of Patrons and the University of Limerick Sports Arena.

Ms Inez Bailey Inez is the Director of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). NALA is a charity concerned with co-ordination, training and policy development in adult literacy work in Ireland. She currently sits on the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, Southside Partnership, Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Local Community Development Committee.

Ms Sharon Cosgrove Sharon is CEO of the Asthma Society where she has led new approaches to communications, advocacy and patient engagement and also campaigns on broader health and wellbeing issues including tobacco, obesity and air quality at a national level. Sharon is an Environmental Health graduate, with a MA in Housing Studies.

Ms Suzanne Costello Suzanne is CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues. Suzanne has extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector in both Ireland and the UK. She is a former Irish Universities XI hockey player and an Irish international athlete.

Dr Catherine Darker Catherine is a Health Psychologist by background and is the Adelaide Assistant Professor of Health Services Research at the Department of Public Health and Primary Care in Trinity College Dublin. She has a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

Ms Ronnie Fay Ronnie is a founder member and Executive Director of Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre and has 30 years' experience addressing Traveller and Roma human rights issues at national, European and UN levels. She has represented the community and Traveller sectors in national social partnership arrangements and policy fora.

Ms Richelle Flanagan Richelle has been President of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) the professional body for Dietitians in Ireland for the past two and a half years and is currently Interim CEO. She is a member of the Irish Institute of Sport Panel of Nutrition Advisors.

Prof. Mary Flynn Mary is Chief Specialist in Public Health Nutrition at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). She is a Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. In May 2014 she was awarded the inaugural Public Health Nutrition Medal by the Nutrition Society (international body for nutrition science).

Mr Tony Geoghegan Tony is the Chief Executive of Merchants Quay Ireland, Drugs and Homeless Services. Tony has worked in the addiction arena for the past twenty years both here in Ireland and in Britain. He is currently Chairman of the Dublin Homeless Network and is a member of the National Voluntary Drug Treatment Network.

Ms Phil Goodman Phil is the founder of the "Young at Heart Douglas Senior Citizens" group, Cork, a Voluntary organisation catering for the needs of senior citizens in the community.

Ms Linda Grealy Linda is a retired senior civil servant with extensive experience in the areas of inequality and disability.

Ms Aoife Hearne Aoife is member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute, the professional body for dietitians in Ireland She was a panel member of RTE's Operation Transformation 2014 as the nutrition expert. She has competed internationally in track and field sport on national teams.

Dr Tony Holohan Tony, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health since 2008, has responsibility in leading policy development on public health, patient safety and quality in health care. He has been instrumental in driving the development of Healthy Ireland over the past number of years.

Dr Jacky Jones Jacky worked for the Irish health services for 37 years in the field of health education and health promotion. She has served on numerous national strategy groups. She currently writes in The Irish Times weekly Health and Family Supplement.

Ms Maureen Kavanagh Maureen has been CEO of Active Retirement since 2008, representing older people in Ireland with over 24,000 members across 550 local associations. Prior to this she was involved in the Adult Education Sector.

Ms Paula King Paula is an Executive Coach with qualifications in psychology and counselling and an MSc in Coaching and Development. She is President of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and the Director of the Mental Health and Well Being Diploma in Coaching.

Ms Olive Loughnane Olive is a four-time Olympian and a World Championship silver medallist in athletics. She represented Ireland at six World Athletics Championships. Olive works as a Statistician in the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and is the holder of a B.Comm from N.U.I.G.

Ms Amanda McCloat Amanda is Head of Home Economics Department at St. Angela's College, Sligo where her research interests are in the areas of food education, cooking skills, education for sustainable development and food policy, and she is currently involved in national and European research projects on these areas.

Mr John McCormack John has been CEO of the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) for the past 11 years. The ICS is a national charity which aims to improve the lives of those affected by cancer. It provides information and a range of services, and raises awareness of cancer issues.

Dr Shari McDaid Shari is Director of Mental Health Reform (MHR), a national coalition of 40 member organisations and is also Chair of the Children's Mental Health Coalition (51 member organisations). She has worked in social policy in Ireland for over ten years, specialising in mental health.

Ms Christine Moloney Christine is CEO of Ireland Active, a not-for- profit company which provide supports and services to organisations and individuals who have a role to play in promoting health through physical activity by getting more people, more active, more often.

Mr Tony O'Brien Tony is Director General of the Health Service Executive which has over 100,000 employees. He has responsibility for the strategic reform of the health service set out in Future Health, one pillar of which is Health and Wellbeing.

Ms Sarah O'Connor Sarah is the CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport - the representative body for the National Sporting Organisations and Local Sports Partnerships. Sarah completed a LLB. at Trinity, a Masters of Law at Cambridge and in 2009 undertook a Masters in Sports Management at the IE Business School in Madrid.

Dr Mareesa O'Dwyer Mareesa is research officer in Early Childhood Ireland, an organisation which supports and represents the people who play a role in the development, delivery and oversight of early childhood care and education in Ireland, and prioritises the interests of children.

Dr Stephanie O'Keeffe Stephanie has been Director of the Health and Wellbeing Division in the Health Service Executive since July 2013. She has responsibility in the HSE for leading the development and establishing the governance structures for Ireland's first and current whole of government population health framework, Healthy Ireland.

Ms Seónaid Ó Murchadha Seónaid is a Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) Project Worker in the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD). She has a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Languages (French &Spanish) in Dublin City University.

Dr Donal O'Shea Donal, a Professor of Medicine & Endocrinology, in University College Dublin, has been involved in the treatment obesity in adults for 20 years. His work with individuals with obesity and gender identity disorders has brought him in close contact with some of the most isolated and marginalized members of society. He is leading a research group looking at the long-term effects of obesity both physically and psychologically.

Mr Maurice Pratt Maurice is Chairman of Uniphar Plc, the pharmaceutical distributor and wholesaler. He is also Chairman of Barretstown, the Children's Cancer Charity, and European Movement Ireland. He is Vice Chairman of Serious Fun Children's Network, the global family of camps for seriously ill children founded by Paul Newman.

Ms Bernie Quillinan Bernie is a senior lecturer in the Department of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Limerick. She currently represents the University of Limerick on the management committee of the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative care (AIIHPC) and chairs the AIIHPC Education Steering Group. In 2012, Bernie was appointed civic engagement champion for the University of Limerick.

Mr Colin Regan Colin is manager of the GAA's Community & Health Section with responsibility for ensuring that the Association is aware of and responds to the health and wellbeing needs of its members, its clubs, and the communities it serves. A former Leitrim footballer, he worked as a journalist and editor for 12 years in Ireland and Boston before joining the team in Croke Park in 2011

Dr Mark Rowe Mark is a GP who founded the award winning Waterford Health Park as a new approach for sustainable improvements in community health. He has a longstanding interest in education, as a trainer with the South East G.P. Training Programme and as Senior clinical lecturer with the University of Limerick Graduate Medical School. He works with the media as an advocate for health.

Ms Ruth Scott Ruth is a broadcaster on RTE 2FM Radio. She is spokesperson and host for the Flora Women's Mini Marathon and regularly hosts large youth-oriented events for Foróige and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

Mr Paul Sweeney Paul Sweeney was Chief Economist in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. He is a member of the National Competitiveness Council, the Economic Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation and is chair of TASC's Economists' Network. .

Mr Kealan Thompson Kealan is currently a first year student studying Psychology in Dublin City University. He has undertaken some voluntary work with the Aisling Project in Ballymun, which aims to prevent early school leaving, benefit the community and advance education by running an after-school intervention project for children at risk.

Mr Des Tomlinson Des is the National Coordinator for the Football Association of Ireland's Intercultural Football programme, which utilises the capacity of Football to support the process of integration in a more culturally diverse society. One of the main focuses of the programme is to encourage greater participation in health enhancing sport by people from diverse ethnic, cultural and national minority backgrounds.

Mr John Treacy John Treacy is Chief Executive of the Irish Sports Council, the statutory agency responsible for the promotion and development of competitive and recreational sport in Ireland. John was double World Cross Country Champion in 1978 and 1979 and won silver in the 1984 Olympic Games Marathon.

Ms Mary Van Lieshout Mary is Chairperson of Healthy Food for All, an all-Ireland body committed to eradicating food poverty in Ireland. She has an undergraduate degree in Food Science and Nutrition and an MSc in Community Health from Trinity College. She has extensive experience in research and promoting healthy public policy. She is currently Global Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisor with the humanitarian agency GOAL.