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Board Members

Dr. John Killeen
Dr. John Killeen (Chairman)

An engineer by profession and a native of Roscommon, Dr Killeen became an Honorary Freeman of Galway City in 2012. He was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Engineering Award in Ireland by Engineers Ireland in 2013. A retired CEO of Colas Group in Ireland and a retired Managing Director of Cold Chon Galway Ltd, John is currently Chairman of the Marine Institute and a Council member of the RNLI for the UK and Ireland and President and Director of the Timoney Institute,

Mary Dunne
Mary Dunne
A native of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Mary has extensive experience in healthcare management, having worked in a variety of healthcare organisations across the UK and Ireland.  Mary holds a Masters in Health Management and was the Executive Director for Nursing Services at London’s Frimley Park Hospital N.H.S. Foundation Trust from 2001–2012 and more recently was the Director of Nursing and Clinical Services at the Bon Secours Hospital Group, Galway.


Dr. Brendan Day

A senior partner of a large medical group practice in the semi-rural area of Turloughmore/Claregalway, Co. Galway.  Brendan is a founder member of the ICGP, former chairman of the MICGP examination board and was an examiner for the MICGP from 1986-2006. Dr Day was president of the ICGP in 2010. He was an external examiner for the UK MRCGP from 1986 -1998 and for the General Practice postgraduate examination board in Bahrain from 1994-1998. He was appointed by the Minister for Health to the first Saolta Board from 2013 – 2017.

Dr. John Morris
Dr. John Morris

A GP based in Galway City who brings a broad range of experience to the board with a background in clinical research, international public health and medical politics.  John has worked in the past with Medicines Sans Frontiers, the World Health Organisation and was president of the Irish Medical Organisation in 2009-10. He holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from UCD and has a broad knowledge of Irish health policy and is an advocate for patient-centred, equitable and clinically evidence-based health service delivery. 


Phyllis Mac Namara

Owner of Cobwebs, antique and fine jewellery shop which Phyllis established in Galway in 1972.  Phyllis holds a degree from Trinity College in Fine Arts, English and Irish and has studied at Sotheby’s Institute in London. Phyllis has served on the Board of Directors for the Saolta University Health Care Group since 2013, as well as the Patient Council and the Patient Experience Committee.

Dr. Aislinne Freeman
Dr. Aislinne Freeman

Business Consultant in the Health Sector, recipient of the Marie Curie Fellowship to undertake a Psychology Doctorate at the University of Leipzig, Germany, Dr Freeman worked in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the World Health Organisation in Geneva and is due to complete her MBA with Trinity College Dublin in 2018.

Dariona Conlon
Dariona Conlon

Served her Solicitor’s Apprenticeship with A & L Goodbody and qualified as a Solicitor in March 1994.  Post qualification, Dariona practised as a Litigation Solicitor with V P McMullin in Donegal specialising in Health Care Law.  She was appointed to the Board of the Residential Institutions Redress Board in January 2014 as a Legal Member of the Board.  She also works as a Mental Health Tribunals Chairperson since November 2010.  Dariona is currently practising as a Consultant Solicitor with C S Kelly & Company in Donegal.


Gerry McManus
Gerry started his working career in Sligo with the Italian multinational Snia in 1970 and was responsible for procurement and logistics. In 1983 he formed his own IT Company, Compupac with his partner Michael Vickers. He is a former President of Sligo Chamber of Commerce, a former Board member of Sligo Leader Company and is currently a Trustee of County Sligo Golf Club. Gerry served for 12 years on the Governing Body of IT Sligo where he was Chairperson of the Internal Audit Committee and Vice Chairman of the Governing Body. He is currently Chairperson of the Friends of Sligo University Hospital, Chairperson of the Patients’ Forum and a Board member of the Research and Education Foundation and has served as Chairperson of Internal Audit Committee Saolta Hospital Group for the last three years.


Brian Thornton
Brendan is a Galway native, a commerce graduate of NUI Galway, an Associate of the Irish Taxation Institute and a former Inspector of Taxes.  He has worked in private practice for over 25 years and recently retired as Partner in Charge of the Galway office of KPMG.  He was a member of Council of the Irish Taxation Institute.  He has lectured in Revenue Law at NUI Galway, the Irish Taxation Institute and the Institute of Chartered Accountants and is currently a Board member of Cancer Care West.

Tom Canavan
Tom Canavan

Tom is a native of Mayo and apart from living in Cork in the 1970’s, has spent most of his working life based in Mayo. An accountant by profession with added expertise and experience in Information Systems. Tom has worked mainly with large multinational companies in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors and also in the food and energy sectors. He has worked with Baxter Healthcare Ireland for 15 years in roles as Finance Director and Operations Director which included taking lead roles in European business and systems development projects. His work has included experience in regulatory compliance in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry and in working with the Irish Medicine Board, the FDA and other global regulatory agencies. He has been active in community organisations and projects over the years. In more recent times he has been President of Castlebar Chamber, a member of the government-appointed GMIT Mayo working group, co-founder of Mayo Biz Mentors and Chairperson of his local primary school board of management.

Darina Kneafsey
Darina Kneafsey

Darina has 25 years experience in senior leadership positions within international companies including Digital Equipment and Intel.  She held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Trinity College Dublin for several years and she is a member of the HEA (Higher Education Authority) board.  Darina works with a number of start-ups and has established organisations across several sectors.  She is a Chartered Engineer, graduated from University College Dublin and holds a post-graduate Diploma in System Analysis from NUI Galway and an MBA from Trinity College Dublin.


Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh
Ciarán was appointed the 13th President of NUI Galway in January 2018. Previously he was Professor of Accounting and Dean of Business at UCD, (UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and UCD Smurfit Executive Development) and its overseas programmes in Hong Kong, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Ciarán trained as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen and has a PhD in Accounting from the University of Leeds. Ciarán has been published widely in the accounting field and has previously held academic positions at Dublin City University, UCD and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. A former Fulbright scholar at Northeastern University, he has served as Audit Committee Chair at the Department of Marine, Communications and Natural Resources and is a member of the Audit Committee at the Department of Finance.