Meet the team

Marie Lynch - Head of Healthcare Programmes

Following her career as an occupational therapist, Marie Lynch worked as Regional Director for 7 years with the Irish Wheelchair Association where she also obtained her MSc. In 2007, Marie commenced employment with the Irish Hospice Foundation as Programme Manager and in 2014 was made Head of Health Care Programmes with the IHF.  Her work has focused on initiating policy and programmes to support the development of palliative care for people with life limiting diseases (specifically dementia, heart failure, advancing neurological diseases and respiratory conditions) in all care settings (Palliative Care for All Programme) and in Primary Care (Primary Palliative Care Programme).  More recently Marie has taken responsibility for the Hospice Friendly Hospital Programme.

Deirdre Shanagher - Development Officer

Deirdre is currently working with the Irish Hospice Foundation as a Development Officer. She is a registered general nurse who has worked as a nurse and nurse manager for 7 years, primarily in a nursing home setting. Deirdre obtained an MSc in Gerontological nursing in 2011 and is a member of the All Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association and The Irish Association of Palliative Care.

Anna de Siún - National Development Coordinator, Residential Care Centres

Prior to joining the HFH team Anna worked for 13 years in the area of health services research both within the HSE and as an independent researcher. Anna has worked extensively in the area of older person care, and most recently led out on the Irish National Audit of Dementia (INAD) care in acute hospitals. Working on projects such as the National Dementia Education Programme and the National Falls Prevention Strategy has given Anna a deep respect for the dignity and individuality of each person working in and accessing health care services in Ireland. Anna has a BA in psychology and a MHSc in Health Services Research from NUI, Galway. Anna joined the team in April 2014.

Mary Lovegrove - Development Coordinator, Residential Care Centres (Dublin Region) & Project Manager, Design & Dignity                                        

Prior to joining the Irish Hospice Foundation, Mary was National Programme Manager for the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme in the UK, a programme to redesign NHS, voluntary and social services to enable more people to be cared for and die in their place of choice at no extra cost.  She has also worked in the Healthcare Commission in England, supporting the development and roll out of the Annual Health Check - a system to regulate and assess healthcare organisations' performance. Earlier in her career Mary gained experienced in the European Commission's Health and Consumer Protection Cabinet, notably working on the limiting of tobacco advertising across the EU.  Mary has a background in nursing with acute surgical and medical experience in Ireland and Australia and she has also worked in drug rehabilitation and diabetes research. Mary joined the team in 2008.

Aoife O’Neill - Development Coordinator, Residential Care Centres (Dublin Region)  & Dublin Community Hospitals Network Coordinator

Aoife O'Neill graduated from U.C.D in 1986 with B. Soc. Sc. degree. She worked in research until 1988 until starting work at the National Multiple Sclerosis Care Centre. In 1993 Aoife returned to college and completed a Masters degree in Social Science.  Since 1995 she has worked as a social worker in the areas of child protection learning disability and adult mental health in both hospital and community settings. Aoife joined the team in 2007.

Hilary Smyth - Development Coordinator, Residential Care Centre (South West Region)

Hilary began her nursing career in Cork University Hospital in 1991, she worked for a number of years in Australia before returning home to complete Bachelors Degree (First Class Honours) in Trinity College. She specialised in Palliative Care and completed a Higher Diploma in Palliative Nursing (with Distinction) whilst working in Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross in 2001. Since then, Hilary has been involved in Palliative Care specialist practice and education and coordinated the Post Graduate Nursing Diploma in association with U.C.D. She completed a Masters Degree in Palliative Care (education) with the University of Dundee (with Distinction).  Hilary moved home to her roots in Limerick and to Milford Hospice in 2004. Since then Hilary has been involved clinically as a Community Clinical Nurse Specialist and in palliative care education in Milford Care Centre and with N.U.I.G. She has a particular interest in communication, and is an accredited facilitator for the U.K. “Advanced Communication Skills Course” that is offered by Milford Care Centre.

Jacinta Kelly - Development Coordinator, Residential Care Centres (North West Region)

Jacinta Kelly has worked at North West Hospice in Sligo for the past 10 years. She has been a member of the Community Palliative Care Team there for 7 years. Prior to this she has worked in the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit at St. Vincent's University Hospital and St. Luke's Radiation/Oncology Hospital in Dublin where her growing interest in palliative care developed.  She completed a Masters of Health Sciences and completed her dissertation titled 'Experiences of Nurses Caring for Patients in Hospice Settings'. She became a member of the IHF 'Changing Minds Programme' in 2013. Jacinta has just completed a research study titled 'The Journey of the Patient with Dementia in the Specialist Palliative Care Service'.

Una Cronin - Development Coordinator, Residential Care Centres (Southern Region)

Una is a qualified Children’s Nurse, General Nurse and Midwife, having first qualified in 1980. Between 1986 and 1998 she spent most of her professional career working with relief and development agencies in East Africa. Since returning to Ireland in 1998 Una has worked in care of older people services in both public and private sectors. Roles have included Staff Nurse, Clinical Nurse Manager, Assistant Director of Nursing and Director of Nursing. She currently also holds a half time Lectureship in Healthcare Ethics position at the School of Nursing & Midwifery, University College, Cork. Some of her postgraduate qualifications are Pg. Dip Gerontological Nursing, MSc. Community Health, MSc End of Life Healthcare Ethics and BCL.

Joanne Brennan - Development Coordinator, Residential Care Centres (Midlands Region)

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