Patron & Advisory Board


Patron: Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

ICHN are honoured  to announce that President Michael D. Higgins has agreed to become Patron of our Institute.

Our Ninth President spent over thirty years in politics prior to his election and has a strong record of engagement on justice and social issues.

While in the Oireachtas he was appointed as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. He is a former lecturer at NUIG and has published several books of poetry. He is married to Sabina and they have four adult children.

Advisory Board

Dr. Dervilla Donnelly

Dr. Dervilla Donnelly is the Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry, University College, Dublin. Since 1996 Dr. Dervilla Donnelly has been Chair of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. She is also Chair of the Interim Review Group for Institutions in the Technological Sector since 1997. Her interest in Science is reflected in her involvement as Chair of the Evaluation Committee OECD Programme–Megascience Forum, Council Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Member of the Standing Committee of ESF, Life and Environmental Science Committee, and Physical and Engineering Science Committee.

Professor Des O Neill

As a medical undergraduate of TCD, Prof O’Neill spent a year in Marseilles as a volunteer with a NGO working with older people. He subsequently trained as a geriatrician in St James’s Hospital and the University of Bristol. Following an appointment as consultant geriatrician in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham he returned to Dublin and currently is the senior academic in Medical Gerontology at the TCD campus at Tallaght Hospital. His focus regarding research is rooted in gerontology and the neurosciences, with a strong emphasis on liaison with the humanities.

Ann Ormond

Ann Ormond was educated at Presentation College Clonmel. From there she went to do B. Comm. at University College Dublin, MA Psychology, H.DipEd, Diploma in Career Guidance. Teacher of Business Study Subjects/ Career Guidance Counsellor at Dublin VEC, Ann’s main interest in teaching was assisting those from disadvantaged areas attain a good education. Senator Ormonde served as member of the Boards of Management in Community Schools in South Dublin. She also served as member of the General Council of County Councils. Contested 1987, 1989, 1992 and 1997 General Elections for Fianna Fáil in Dublin South.
Ann was re-elected to the Seanad in July 2007 on the Cultural and Educational Panel. Ann’s nominating body was the Institute of Community Health Nursing whose views she represented in the Seanad. Since retiring Ann continues her interest as Patron of the ICHN

Mr. Owen Metcalfe, CEO, Institute of Public Health

Owen Metcalfe is Director of the Institute of Public Health in Ireland. Prior to taking up the position as Director he lead on health promotion, youth, elderly and gender targeted programmes. He directs the cross cutting area of health impact assessment and leads on the communications brief. Owen is also the company secretary and takes the lead on governance, finance and human resources issues.Prior to joining the Institute Owen worked as Chief Health Promotion Advisor for the Department of Health and Children. He has also worked as a teacher, trainer and counsellor.He has a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion, a degree in Business Studies, a Higher Diploma in Education and a postgraduate counselling qualification. He has been involved in health education and health promotion for twenty years and is widely conversant with public health and health promotion policy, planning and implementation at regional, national and international levels. In 2009 he was awarded Fellowship of the Faculty of Public Health UK
In his current position Owen has a commitment to personal and organisational development for improving the effectiveness of public health.

Mr Fergus Finlay, CEO ,Barnardos

Since June 2005 Fergus Finlay has been Chief Executive of Barnardos, Ireland’s largest children’s charity. For around twenty years prior to that he was employed as Senior Adviser to the Labour Party, serving in three Governments and working for the Party in opposition. He was one of the drafters of the Downing Street Declaration and was centrally involved in the election of President Mary Robinson in 1990, together with other political events of the period. He also served for three years as a Director of Wilson Hartnell Public Relations.
Fergus Finlay is the author of four best-selling books. He has founded a number of organisations that campaign for the rights of people with disabilities, and Chairperson of Special Olympics Ireland for four years. He is currently Chair of Volunteering Ireland. He broadcasts regularly on radio and television, and contributes a weekly column to the Irish Examiner.

Dr Sinead Hanafin Visiting Research Fellow, School of Nursing, Trinity College Dublin

Sinéad Hanafin is a nurse, midwife and public health nurse and has worked as a practitioner, lecturer, researcher and, most recently as Head of Research at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in Ireland. She was awarded an M Sc. from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from King’s College London. She is a scholar of the European Academy of Nursing Science and is widely published nationally and internationally in areas relating to children’s lives, strategic development, public health nursing and knowledge transfer.

Professor Alf Nicholson

Professor Alf Nicholson FRCPI, FRCPCH is a consultant paediatrician in Temple Street who returned to Ireland in 1996 from Melbourne, where he worked in the second largest pediatric hospital in the world. He is secretary of the Faculty of Paediatrics in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Clinical Paediatric Lead  of the HSE Paediatric Clinical Care Programme

Dr Keith Swanick

Practice name and address: Swanick Family Practice, Church Rd, Belmullet, Co. Mayo. Graduate of Royal College of Surgeons 1997 Member Royal College Of General Practitioners 2003 Former Secretary of National Association of General Practitioners Recently elected Senator to Seanad Eireann Cultural and Educational Panel.