New Chair and President of Arthritis Ireland appointed

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 17 October 2017

John O'Flynn, Grainne O'Leary and Seoirse Smith

John O'Flynn, president; Grainne O'Leary, acting CEO; and Seoirse Smith, chair of Arthritis Ireland

Arthritis Ireland has announced the appointment of Seoirse Smith as its new chair. He succeeds John O’Flynn, who has been elected president of the organisation.

Mr Smith previously served as vice-chair and has been a trustee of Arthritis Ireland since 2010.

Gráinne O’Leary, acting CEO, welcomed Mr Smith’s appointment: “Seoirse’s experience and expertise will strengthen the leadership of Arthritis Ireland, particularly as we embark on a new phase in the organisation’s development. This is an exciting time in Arthritis Ireland as we continue to represent and support people living with arthritis, while investing in research to find a cure for the disease. As a staff team, we look forward to working with Seoirse and to delivering for our community.”

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Smith said: “I am honoured to be the new chair of Arthritis Ireland. Over the past four decades, the charity has helped increase awareness and understanding of the disease. Crucially, it is a strong, credible voice for the one million people living with arthritis in Ireland. This will become increasingly important in the context of public patient involvement in research, which sees patients, carers and members of the public as active partners in research, rather than the subjects of research.”

He paid tribute to his predecessor, John O’Flynn. “I want to acknowledge and thank John for his leadership of the board over the past four years and for his many years of service as a director of the organisation. We are delighted that he continues to be involved as president.”

Seoirse Smith is a consultant in change management, particularly in IT. He was president of the Ankylosing Spondylitis International Federation from 2009-2016 and secretary/PRO of the Ankylosing Spondylitis Association of Ireland from 1998-2016. He became a trustee of Arthritis Ireland in 2010 and served as vice-chair for the past two years.

John O’Flynn worked in auditing, management consultancy and commercial life. In 2006, together with other members, he set up the Cork branch of Arthritis Ireland. He is a participant in the patients as teachers programme in the School of Medicine, UCC. He was chair of the board since 2013 and a trustee since 2007.

Arthritis Ireland is a national health charity that provides people with arthritis with self-management tools and supports to ease the physical pain and social isolation caused by arthritis. The organisation invests in research to increase understanding of the causes of the disease, while working towards finding a cure.

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