AIGNA Committee Members

Professor Assumpta Ryan 




Assumpta Ryan graduated from Ulster University in 1991 with a first class honours degree in Professional Development in Nursing. She completed her Masters (with distinction) in 1995 and a PhD in 2006. She was appointed as a Professor of Ageing and Health with Ulster University in October 2015 within the School of Nursing and the Institute of Nursing and Health Research in October 2015 where she leads the ‘Provision of Care to Older People’ strand of the Person-centred Practice Research Centre. Prior to this, she worked for four years as a Lecturer/ Practitioner with the University of Ulster and the Northern Health and Social Care Trust where her clinical base was a Nursing Development Unit for the assessment and rehabilitation of older people.

Professor Ryan’s research is focused on ageing and the care of older people. Specific interests include the needs and experiences of family carers, the impact of community care on older people, the experience of entry to long-term care from the perspective of older people and their families, quality of life in nursing and residential homes and dementia care. Her expertise lies in the field of qualitative research with a particular focus on grounded theory methodology. She won the Royal College of Nursing ‘Nurse of the Year: Nursing Research Award’ in 2007 and in 2008, was runner up in the RCN Research Society Justus Akinsanya Award for Innovation in Doctoral Studies in Nursing in the UK. In 2013, she was elected as President of the All Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association. Professor Ryan is Editor of the ‘Journal of the All Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association and is on the Editorial Board of ‘Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice’ and ‘The International Journal of Older People Nursing’. 

Professor Ryan has generated over 1.4 million in grant income to support her research and has published over 104 papers in a range of academic journals. She has presented papers at national and international conferences and has a wide network not only within Ireland and the UK but across Europe, Canada and the USA.


Linda McKenna



Linda McKenna is employed as Deputy Director of Nursing in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Service which comprises of 224 beds across two sites with three specialties; Care of Older People Services, Palliative Care and Rheumatology Rehabilitation.

Linda co-ordinates operational activity for Nursing in all specialties in addition to operational and professional responsibility for the Care of Older People Services. In her corporate role, she has responsibility for HIQA Residential Standards. As part of the integrated governance structure in OLHCS, Linda is currently leading on quality, practice and performance, infection control and haemovigilance. Linda is recognised in the Organisation as having a strong commitment to making service performance improvements and a determination to achieve positive outcomes for patients/residents and staff. 

Linda has fourteen years post-graduate experience in Care of Older People. She has an Msc in Dementia Studies, Higher Diploma in Clinical Practice (Gerontology) and a Bsc (Hons) in Nursing.

Linda has always been passionate about working with Older People particularly in the area of dementia care.

Amanda Phelan 

Vice President

RGN, RM, PHN, BNS (Hons), MSc (Nursing-education), RNT, PhD.

Dr. Amanda Phelan is a Lecturer in the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems and Subject Head of Older Persons’ Nursing and Associate Dean for Global Engagement. She is also the programme co-ordinator for the post graduate gerontological programmes. Amanda’s PhD was completed in 2010 and employed a discourse analysis framework to examine community nurses’ practice in elder abuse. Amanda is also the Co Director of the UCD National Centre for the Protection of Older People and has completed a number of studies on safeguarding and older people. Currently, Amanda is the chief investigator for two research projects: Financial abuse of vulnerable adults in Northern Ireland and examining missed care in community nursing. Amanda holds the position of national representative for the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, sits on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland’s fitness to practice committee and is a consultant on elder abuse for SAGE (an advocacy group for older people). Amanda is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Older People Nursing journal reviewer for international publications including Nursing Inquiry, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Public Health Nursing, International Journal of Older People Nursing and Archives of Gerontology & Geriatrics. Amanda has published in a number of peer reviewed journals and her book: International Perspectives on Elder Abuse (Routledge) was published in 2013. 



Patricia Fehin




Patricia Fehin is a Lecturer-Practitioner (Gerontological Nursing)School of Nursing and Midwifery at University College Cork and holds degrees of BNS from University College Dublin, BCL from University College Cork and MSc (Healthcare Ethics and Law) from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She also holds certificates in intensive care nursing and neuromedical/ neurosurgical nursing. As a Registered General Nurse, Patricia has extensive clinical nursing experience including general medicine, neurosurgery, intensive care, coronary care, older adult nursing and practice development; experience has been gained in both the UK and Ireland. She is Programme Leader of the BSc Nursing (General)undergraduate program and also contributes to the Post Graduate Diploma/Certificate in Gerontological Nursing and Post Graduate Certificate in Nurse Prescribing programs at UCC. She also has an ongoing clinical practice and student support remit within the older people services at St Finbarr's Hospital, Cork (stroke rehabilitation and residential care)and Cork University Hospital. 

As one of the founding members of AIGNA, Patricia held the position of secretary 2008-2010, and Treasurer 2012-2015


Catherine Buckley

RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD candidate

Catherine trained as a general nurse in the Cork University Hospital and has extensive clinical experience in both the US and Ireland in cardiac care, oncology, and care of the older adult in both rehabilitation and long-term care. She obtained a BSc (hons) and an MSc from the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery UCC and is currently a PhD candidate in Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. Currently she works as a Practice Development Lecturer in St. Lukes Home Education Centre, Cork and research assistant in the Catherine MacAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery UCC. Catherine’s research interests include practice development, person-centred narrative approaches to care, social isolation and socialization of older adults in long term care, and dementia care. In her role in St. Lukes Education Centre, Catherine is responsible for the development of curriculum and provision of courses related to the clinical practice of nursing and care staff in residential care settings.  

Catherine has been on the Management Committee of AIGNA since it’s establishment in 2009 and has responsibility for monitoring and updating the AIGNA website. 


Lorraine McNamee

MSc, PG Dip Dementia, BSc Mgt, Adv Dip Personal & Executive Coaching, Dip Mgt, RGN

Lorraine is a Project Officer in the Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Unit North Dublin. She trained as a general nurse in University College Hospital Galway and has worked in both acute care and older persons care. She worked as Practice Development Co ordinator in Older Persons Care for 11 years and has a keen interest in education, person centred care and dementia care. She is a qualified CPR instructor and provides coaching as part of the PEAK coaching network.



Mary J Foley

RGN, RNP, RANP, MSc Nursing, HDip in Gerontological Nursing.  

Mary J. is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Rehabilitation of the Older Adult based in the Assessment & Treatment Centre in St Finbarr’s Hospital, (2013 recipient of Irish Medical Times, Outpatient of the Year Award). Her clinical role involves complex case management in Rehabilitation, Ambulatory and Continuing Care. She has a significant role in specialist clinics which include Parkinsons, Stroke Follow-Up, Continence Advisory and Memory Intervention & Support. She had a leadership role in setting up the Cork Stroke Support Group and the Cork Alzheimer Café both recipient of National Awards. 

Mary J. commenced her nursing studies in Madonna College of Nursing, Portiuncula Hospital.In addition to an MSc Nursing and a Higher Diploma in Gerontological Nursing (UCC), her professional development includes certificates in nurse prescribing, dementia, parkinsons, palliative care, continence and advanced health and social care. She lectures on the MSc Postgraduate Programme in Rehabilitation UCC and facilitates other education and practice development initiatives. 

Mary J. is on the management committees of the All Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association the Irish Gerontological Society and is proactive on a number of National Working Groups.


Caroline Connelly

RPN RGN BA (HONS) Health Care Practice, Dip PSN

Caroline is currently employed as an Inspector in the regulation department of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). Caroline joined HIQA in 2008 and was involved in the development of the inspection methodology and pilot program prior to the commencement of inspections of older person’s services in 2009. Caroline is an inspector for older person’s services and disability services and generally works in the south east of the country. She is also involved in the training of new inspectors and regulatory officers for the Authority.  

Caroline trained as a registered Psychiatric Nurse in Cork and as a Registered General Nurse in Sheffield. She worked in care of the older person services in the UK’s NHS for Thirteen years the majority of that time at Management level. She returned to Ireland in 2004, she worked for six months in a HSE run Residential Home and then moved to a post of Director of Nursing in a Private Nursing Home where she worked for fifteen months. From August 2006 to August 2008 she held the National post of Practice Development Facilitator with Nursing Homes Ireland providing education, support and practice development to member nursing homes as well as representing the organisation on many national and regional groups including the national working group for the development of the HIQA standards, the department of health and children’s working group on elder abuse, and the national working group on the development of a single assessment tool (SAT).  

She holds post registration qualifications, including a BA (Hons) in Health Care Practice from Sheffield Hallam University, A Diploma in Professional Studies in Nursing and in health service management and English National Board Qualification’s in Care of the Older Person and in Teaching and Assessing in Clinical Practice.  

Caroline was a member of the Gerontological Nursing Development Group and has been on AIGNA's executive and management committee since its development.



Daragh Rodger

RGN RNP RANP BA (Hons) MSc Certificate in Nurse Prescribing Post Graduate Cert in Advanced Practice PhD Student


Daragh Rodger is a Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner Care of the Older Adult Community promoting healthy and active ageing to community dwelling older adults through comprehensive assessment and health promotion and is based in St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park. She is also involved with education in the clinical and academic setting and also to local community groups on differing aspects of healthy active ageing. Her research interests include bone health, fall prevention and management, carers of older adults and electronic patient records.

Daragh qualified as an RGN in 1989 from South Sefton Health Authority, Liverpool. Since then she has worked in care of the older adult gaining experience in acute care, rehabilitation, community and residential care. She has completed a Diploma in Gerontological nursing, The Royal College Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI)1995, Higher Diploma in Wound Management and Tissue Viability from RCSI, 2004, BSc in Nursing from University College Dublin, 2005, Msc Nursing from RCSI, 2009, Certificate in Nurse Prescribing from RCSI, 2010 and Graduate Certificate in Advanced Practice 2011at RCSI. 

Daragh is project lead on Bone Health in the Park ( and Forever Autumn Community of Practice ( She is a member of the National Falls Working Group and currently Joint Chair of the Education and Learning Support Team. She is a member of Healthcare Informatics Society of Ireland Nursing and Midwifery Special Interest Group (HISI-NM) who recognise the importance of nursing informatics in health care planning and service provision agenda. She is a member of AIGNA Management Committee since 2010


Adele Smiddy


Having trained as a nurse in Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, Adele went on to work In London, Saudi Arabia, Bristol, Kazakhstan and Dubai. Adele obtained her Masters in ‘Healthcare Management’ from The Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland in 2008 where she went on to specialise in Quality in Healthcare.

Adele has worked extensively in the Middle East in clinic management and as a consultant for CPQ (Centre for Planning and Quality – A Dubai Healthcare City and Partners Harvard Alliance) and JCIA Accreditation. Her most recent role as Assistant Director of Nursing in a well established Private Residential Care Centre in North Dublin has fulfilled her goal in working for the elderly. 

As an occasional lecturer in UCD, Adele enjoys familiarising herself with the HIQA National Standards and working towards excellence in the delivery of care for the older person. Adele has a specific interest in Dementia and Palliative care.


Brian McNamara


I am ADON in Greenpark Nursing Home Limited. I qualified as a Nurse with 1st Class Honours from NUI Galway in 2011 at age 33.


 In 2012, I was awarded NHI Nurse of the Year. I went back to NUI Galway in 2013 and completed a Higher Diploma in Gerontology. In the same year, I joined the AIGNA Committee and have been working with AIGNA ever since.


My passion is to provide holistic care, covering the medical and social needs that ensure the best possible quality of life for all of our residents to flourish at Greenpark Nursing Home and continuously campaign for the rights of residents in long term care.


Dr. Mary Rose Day

DN, MA, H.Dip PHN, BSc, Dip Mang (RCSI), Certificate Teaching (Harvard), RPHN, RM, RGN


Mary Rose Day, is a Nurse Consultant and visiting lecturer at the School of Social Work and School of Nursing & Midwifery at University College Cork. Prior to this, she worked as a College Lecturer in UCC from 2004-2015, and co-ordinated the Postgraduate Certificate Nursing in the Community. Mary Rose taught and supervised research projects across postgraduate and undergraduate programmes with particular focus on older adults, public health nursing/community nursing, leadership and management. Mary Rose has extensive clinical expertise and held a range of nursing and management posts in acute, long term care and community settings. 

Dr. Day’s research interests are care needs of older people, bladder on bowel health, life story work and self-neglect. Mary Rose has published in peer reviewed/ non-peer reviewed academic journals; book chapters; reports and continually contributes to nursing/ social care and medical publications. She is a reviewer for the Archives of Psychiatric Nursing and contributes to conference nationally and internationally on older people and community nursing. Mary Rose organised and participated in a five country symposium on self-neglect at the Irish Association Gerontology and Geriatrics 8th European Regional Congress (IAGG-ER) and the 68th Gerontolgical Conference, Orlando. 

She is a member of the Institute of Community Health Nursing (ICHN), Association of Gerontolgical Nursing and the Ageing Research Cluster of the Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century. In 2014, Mary Rose co-ordinated the ISS21 Ageing cluster. She has facilitated a number of Practice Development Projects on Life Story Work. Dr. Day with colleagues Professor Geraldine McCarthy and Professor Joyce Fitzpatrick is co-editing a textbook on ‘Self-Neglect in Older Adults a Global, Evidence-Based Resource for Nurses and Other Healthcare Providers’.



Marie O'Neill

RGN, RMN, Dip. PSI, BSc (Hons), PG ADV Dip Ed., RNT, MSc. FHEA.


Marie has worked in a managerial capacity in a number of hospital and community nursing positions in adult, mental health and learning disability services in England, Ireland and Northern Ireland before entering nurse education in 2003. She is a graduate of the University of Ulster and successfully completed her specialist Nurse Practitioner course in 2005 and MSc in advanced nursing in 2006.


As a prelude to undertaking her PhD Marie undertook a mental health fellowship from 2012-2013 exploring the prevalence of mental health disorders in older people living in care homes. She has particular research interests in the health needs of older people, individuals with severe and enduring mental illness and in enabling children to discuss perceptions of positive mental health through the arts. Marie commenced her PhD in September 2014

Professor Alice Coffey 
PhD, M.Ed, BA Health Management, RGN, RM, RNT.

Alice Coffey is Professor at the Department of Nursing and Midwifery University of Limerick. She is registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland as a general nurse, midwife and nurse tutor. Alice has over 20 years’ experience in clinical nursing practice and 18 years’ experience in higher education.

Professor Coffey’s research interests include national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary projects that extend over a range of areas such as: transitions in care for older adults; dementia; palliative care; advance care planning; evaluation of health services and programmes and the development of competencies for working with older people in nursing, health and social care professionals. 

She has completed a number of funded projects at national and international level as principle investigator, lead co-investigator and co-applicant with competitive funding secured from a variety of sources e.g. Health Services Executive, Health Research Board and the European Union. She collaborates on interdisciplinary research projects at national level e.g. with the Centre for Gerontology at University College Cork and internationally with Universities in the UK, Europe and USA.

Professor Coffey is a member of the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care Palliative Care Research Network Strategic Scientific Committee; and member of the All Ireland Gerontological Nurses Association (AIGNA) management committee; Chair of the governance committee of the Omega Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau (Ireland) and Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science (EANS).

She publishes in high impact international journals; is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Older People Nursing and a reviewer for several international journals. 

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Web Site Last Updated 22/11/2019