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Forum on end-of-life – Meet our people

Members of the Forum on End-of-life Advisory Group

  • Dr Ciaran Browne
  • Dr. Brian Farrell
  • Sharon Foley
  • Ita Mangan
  • Una Marren
  • Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness
  • Gus Nichols
  • Sean O’Laoire
  • Patricia Rickard-Clarke
  • Professor David Smith
  • Senan Turnbull
  • Professor Max Watson

Dr Ciaran Browne

HSE National Lead of Acute Services HSE


Dr. Brian FarrellDr Brian Farrell

Dr. Brian Farrell is the Dublin City Coroner and past President of the Coroners Society of Ireland. A former consultant histopathologist and barrister-at-law, Dr. Farrell is a member of the Coroners Society of England and Wales and the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists. Dr. Farrell is the only full time coroner in Ireland. He has served on a number of high level committees on the Review of the Coroners Service and Bioethics. Dr. Farrell is the author of Coroners: Practice and Procedure, Roundhall 2000. A second edition of the textbook is in preparation.


Sharon FoleySharon Foley

Sharon Foley is CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation since May 2011. Through her strategic management consultancy, One2One Solutions (established 2006), Ms Foley had previously worked in an advisory capacity for a range of voluntary and state agencies.

Prior to that she was first CEO of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency; and was Director of Health Promotion with two former Health Boards, covering the East Coast and Midlands areas. Ms Foley holds Master’s degrees from NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin.


Ita ManganIta Mangan

Ita Mangan is a barrister who specialises in citizens’ and welfare rights. She has written extensively on these rights over many years. She has been contributing to the publications and databases of the Citizens Information Board for about 30 years. She was a member of the Expert Group on the Integration of Tax and Social Welfare that reported to the Government in 1996.

She has been a Consultant to a number of Government departments and agencies on issues such as age discrimination and the rights of older people. As well as being an External Reviewer with the Revenue Commissioners, she is a member of the Commission of Investigation into clerical child abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese and of the Residential Institutions Redress Review Committee.

Una MarrenUna Marren

Una Marren trained as a nurse and midwife in the UK and worked for many years in various London teaching hospitals . She returned to Ireland in 2000 to become Deputy Director of Nursing at the Mater University Hospital in Dublin. She is chair of the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Standing Committee of the hospital and convenor of the network of Champions for Change. Her interests are emergency nursing and emergency planning within healthcare. She holds a Fellowship of the Institute of Emergency Planning and Civil Protection and has published many papers. Her interest in end of life care stems from a passion to deliver quality care to patients and their families at all times but especially at difficult times such as in cases of sudden death.

 Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinnessMrs Justice Catherine McGuinness

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, a retired Supreme Court judge, is outgoing President of the Law Reform Commission. She was born in Belfast and educated in Belfast and Dublin (Alexandra College, TCD and the King’s Inns). She was called to the Irish Bar in 1977. In 1989 she was called to the Inner Bar, and called to the Bar of New South Wales in 1993.

She has served on An Bord Uchtála (the Adoption Board), the Voluntary Health Insurance Board, the National Economic and Social Council, the Second Commission on the Status of Women, and has chaired the National Social Services Board, the Board of National College of Art and Design, the Employment Equality Agency, the Kilkenny Incest Investigation and the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation.

Gus NicholsGus Nichols

Gus Nichols is the seventh generation of his family in Nichols of Lombard Street, Dublin, funeral directors. The company was started in 1814. Gus graduated in economics and geography from Trinity College Dublin and worked abroad before returning to Nichols in Dublin after the death of his father in 1996.

Last year he became a director of Fanagans funeral directors which had merged with Nichols in 1988. He was president of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors in 2004 and next year he will be president of FIAT-IFTA, the world organisation of funeral directors.

Sean O’LaoireSean O'Laoire

Sean O’Laoire is a former President of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (2007 – 2009) and is current a director of MÓLA Architecture. He was educated at UCD and at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Over a period of 30 years in private practice he has been responsible for a range of award winning architectural and urban design projects. He has been an advocate of the role of architecture as a social art, and has lectured and writing extensively on the subject.

Patricia Rickard Clarke

Patricia Rickard Clarke is a former Law Reform Commissioner, Chair of Law Society Task force on Mental Capacity, committee member of SFE and Chair of the National Advisory Council, SAGE, Support and Advocacy Service, Third Age. She is also a member of the Council of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and the Study Advisory Panel of the National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP)

 Professor David SmithProfessor David Smith

David Smith is Associate Professor of Health Care Ethics in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Director of the MSc in Health Care Ethics and Law in RCSI and RCSI-MUB Bahrain. He lectures on Health Care Ethics in Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and Hibernia College. He is an Ethics Consultant to a number of Healthcare Systems in Ireland. He was a member of the Irish Council for Bioethics. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Committee on Bioethics Ethics, the National Council of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland, the Ethics Working Group of the Irish Association of Palliative Care Consultants, the advisory committee on Research Ethics Committees in Ireland established by HIQA. The Ethics Working Party of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice, the  European Network for Research Ethics Committees (EUREC) and ethical advisor to Atomium Culture. He is also a member of a number of Research Ethics Committees in Ireland.

Senan Turnbull 

Senan is a former Director of Services, Community, Recreation and Amenities with Fingal Council.

Professor Max WatsonProfessor Max Watson

Max Watson trained in theology, medicine, and general practice. He has worked in Nepal for eight years, setting up a General Practice training programme. He returned to Northern Ireland to complete training in Palliative Care in London and Belfast. He is visiting Professor in Palliative Medicine in the University of Ulster, Consultant at the Northern Ireland Hospice and Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Princess Alice Hospice, in Surrey.He is clinical adviser to the Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme of the Irish Hospice Foundation. He is author of the Oxford Handbook of Palliative Care, Oxford Core text Oncology, The Oxford GP Library Pain and Palliation, the UK Network Palliative Care Guidelines and is series editor of the Oxford specialist end of life handbooks. He is the originator of the European Certificate in Essential Palliative Care course that has trained over 5,000 doctors and nurses since it began in 2001 and is now running in Nepal, India, Kyrgyzstan as well as six centres across the UK and Ireland every six months. He chairs the Northern Ireland Palliative Medicine Consultants Group and RCGP End of Life Care Strategy group. He has just completed projects researching the impact of end-of-life care on the relatives of those bereaved through dementia, and the use of CPR in hospices across the UK and Ireland. 

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