“Apart from considering funding dermatology research and training, it is proposed to explore the possibility of setting up a national dermatology support organisation… to inform, support, fund-raise and advocate on behalf of dermatology patients” – The City of Dublin Skin and Hospital Cancer Charity, 2007 AGM

The Irish Skin Foundation

The concept of a skin foundation that would seek to involve the public in supporting the management of skin disease was proposed by the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Charity in 2007

Extensive negotiations took place between a sub-committee of the Charity (Matt O’Brien, Eoin O’Brien and Oonagh Manning) with the Irish Association of Dermatologists, the Irish Dermatology Nurses Association, the Psoriasis Association of Ireland, represented by Caroline Irwin, the Irish Eczema Society, represented by Jeannette Brazel, DEBRA, represented by Margaret Webb, and the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Charity (MASCC) composed of dermatologists, plastic surgeons, histopathologists, and general practitioners represented by Dr. Patrick Ormond. Memorandum and Articles of Association incorporating the objectives of the charity and providing representation of the various voluntary bodies to be incorporated in the Irish Skin Foundation were drawn up and can be viewed in A century of Service; The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital 1911–2012 (pg. 192-193).

Aims & Objectives

The main objectives of the Irish Skin Foundation are stated in the Memorandum of Association of the Irish Skin Foundation (Foras Craiceann na hÉireann):

a To undertake, promote, protect and encourage all programmes or projects supporting those suffering from diseases of the skin and their carers, the promotion of awareness of diseases of the skin and their treatments, including the training of healthcare staff in the provision of therapies and treatments.

bTo promote, endow, support and advance on a national and international level, medical and scientific research, especially in the area of community research, into diseases of the skin and their treatments and all aspects of the development and improvement of therapies and treatments of such diseases, by creating fellowships, establishing scholarships, by making grants and other benefactions and providing equipment and other facilities for research and training in dermatology in established dermatological centres.

cTo advocate at government and all other appropriate levels on behalf of patients suffering from diseases of the skin for greater support for and improvements in, their care.

d To promote health education in subjects relating to the skin and the rehabilitation and relief of those who suffer from diseases of the skin.

eTo act as a representative body in dermatological matters in relation to other bodies concerned with raising and distributing money for similar or allied purposes in Ireland or elsewhere.

The Board

The inaugural meeting of the Board took place in the Stillorgan Park Hotel on 19th January 2011 at 10 a.m. attended by Jeannette Brazel, as the representative of the Irish Eczema Society, Caroline Irwin as the representative of the Psoriasis Association of Ireland, Patrick Ormond as the representative of the Melanoma and Skin Cancers (MASC) Charity, Alan Irvine and Marina O’Kane as representatives of the Irish Association of Dermatologists and Eoin O’Brien and Matthew O’Brien as representatives of the Charity. Mr. Seamus Kennedy was in attendance.

Taking the Chair, Matt O’Brien welcomed those present and provided a background of the establishment of the Irish Skin Foundation. It was proposed by Matt O’Brien and seconded by Caroline Irwin that Eoin O’Brien be elected chairperson; it was proposed by Eoin O’Brien and seconded by Jeanette Brazel that Matt O’Brien be appointed secretary and it was proposed by Eoin O’Brien and seconded by Patrick Ormond that Seamus Kennedy be appointed treasurer. It was agreed that representatives should be invited to join the Board from the Irish College of General Practitioners, the Irish Dermatology Nurses Association, the Pharmaceutical Union of Ireland and the Charles Institute.

The Board of the Irish Skin Foundation

The inaugural meeting of the Irish Skin Foundation. From left: Caroline Irwin, Jeannette Brazel, Marina O’Kane, Matt O’Brien, Eoin O’Brien, Seamus Kennedy, Patrick Ormond and Alan Irvine.


More Information

The Irish Skin Foundation headquarters are at the Charles Institute, UCD Belfield, Dublin 4. The website of the Irish Skin Foundation is located at http://www.irishskinfoundation.ie/

Eoin O’Brien is Professor of Molecular Pharmacology at University College Dublin and has been involved with the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital since childhood as his parents were members of the staff, as was he in later years. He has written the history of the hospital: A Century of Service. The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital 1911-2012 and is member of the Board of the Charles Institute and Chairman of the Irish Skin Foundation.
Matt O’Brien is a professional civil engineer whose working life was largely spent in both the UK and Ireland on the design and supervision of capital schemes in the public health area and on the management of associated services. He joined the Board in 1999 and was chairman of the Board during the closure and sale of the Hospital.
Fergus McKenna is a retired Director of Batchelors Foods and former President of the Irish Grocers Benevolent Fund. He lives in Blackrock with his wife, Kathy. His interests include sport, travel and community welfare.
Jeannette Brazel, who is a parent of a child with severe eczema, was Chairperson and Co-founder of the Irish Eczema Society which provided Information, education and support to people suffering from or caring for patients with Eczema by providing a phone-line, email and postal service to patients, pharmacies and health professionals.
Caroline Irwin, who suffers from psoriasis, founded the Psoriasis Association of Ireland when she returned to Ireland from living abroad and detected a need for support and information for patients with psoriasis.
Alan Irvine is a consultant dermatologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and St. James’ Hospital Dublin, and Professor of Dermatology at Trinity College Dublin. He has a special interest in children’s skin disease, especially difficult eczema, birthmarks and genetic skin disease. He is a principal investigator in The National Children’s Research Centre and runs an active research group supported by The Wellcome Trust, and the Health Research Board amongst others. He has published extensively and is lead editor of Harper’s Textbook of Paediatric Dermatology, one of the standard textbooks in the field.
Patrick Ormond, MRCPI is a Consultant Dermatological and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon at St James Hospital, Dublin. He is lead clinician for Skin Cancer in St James Hospital and runs the Irish Mohs Micrographic Service. He also serves as the Chairman of the Skin Cancer Expert Skin group for the National Cancer Control programme.
Paul Collins is a consultant dermatologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital and St Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire. He is also a board member of the Charles Institute.
Carmel Blake is a a registered general and paediatric nurse working in Dermatology for 19 years and is currently practicing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Tallaght Hospital. She is registered nurse prescriber and has a MSc in Dermatology. She is a member of the British Association of Dermatology Nurses and was involved in the setting up of the Irish Dermatology Nursing Association.
Marina O’Kane, who is a graduate from Queens University, Belfast, is as consultant dermatologist at Beaumont Hospital and Connolly Hospital. Her areas of interest are severe psoriasis and dermatological surgery. She held positions as president and secretary of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland Dermatology Section and is a member of the HSE Dermatology Clinical Care Program Advisory Group and HSE National Psoriasis Care Pathway Group.
Dr Wheeler qualified from University College London in 1987 and then embarked on specialist GP training in the UK, Australia and Ireland. During this time he trained in paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, dermatology, ENT, emergency and general medicine.
He was made a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1992 and also holds Diplomas in Child Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Practical Dermatology and Occupational Medicine. In 2006 Dr Wheeler was elected to the Irish College of General Practitioners.
His interest in Dermatology began while working as a GP in Australia and led to him training for six months at the Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital in Hume Street. While he is still a full time general practitioner he holds weekly skin clinics at his practice at Edenpark Surgery. He is a member of the Primary Care Dermatology Society and the newly formed Primary Care Surgical Association.
Dr Wheeler spent three years as a partner in a practice in Brighton in the UK, before taking over the practice in Edenmore, Raheny, Dublin 5. Now known as Edenpark Surgery the team has expanded to include his partner Dr John O’Dwyer, Dr Fionnuala Joyce and practice nurse Eimear O’Connell. He is married with four daughters, is a keen sailor and trumpet player.