Governance

This section briefly outlines the legal and operational governance of The National Maternity Hospital (NMH).

All Committee Lists are available at the end of this page.

Governors

NMH was established through charitable donations in 1894 and, in 1903 the NMH became a Corporation on receipt of its Charter from the Crown. The legal status of the NMH emanates from the Charter and subsequent legislation and in that respect is along the same lines as the other two major Dublin maternity hospitals.

Under the Charter, before its amendment, the control of NMH rested with the members of the Corporation known as Governors numbering up to 65 but the day to day operational control rested with the Master, an obstetrician and gynaecologist elected by the Governors.  

NMH was rebuilt in 1930s and this opportunity was taken to amend the Charter by the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin (Charter Amendment) Act 1936 (the “Act”).  The Act which increased the number of Governors up to 100 established an Executive Committee to manage the Corporation's property and affairs. The Governors elect the ordinary members of the Executive Committee at each Annual General Meeting and elect the Master once every seven years.  

Executive Committee (the Board)

The Act devolved to an Executive Committee known as the Board, the governance, management, administration and control of the NMH and the property and affairs of the Corporation. The Master retains responsibility for the general management of the NMH between meetings of the Board. The Act was ahead of its time in introducing a gender quota and diversity on the Board. In line with a number of other hospitals and in the context of the Act being enacted not long after the Eucharistic Congress the chair of the Board is His Grace the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. The Archbishop has not been actively involved although is informed of significant developments. Also on the Board is Dublin’s first citizen, the Lord Mayor, who in recent years has taken an interest in the NMH and attended board meetings. The effective chair of the Board is the person, officially known as the Deputy Chair,who is elected at the first Board meeting following the Annual General Meeting in each year.

Certain board members are specified in the Act namely, in addition to the Master, the parish priest of Westland Row (in the 1930s the overwhelming majority of the mothers delivering babies would have been Roman Catholic); the public interest is represented by, in addition to the Lord Mayor, two nominations from Dublin Corporation and the Government’s interest is represented through the ability of the Minister for Health to appoint two nominees. There are two officers namely, the Honorary Treasurer and the Honorary Secretary. Of the others, the Act provides that there shall be not less than six women. In practice the 21 ordinary members of the Board, who are subject to annual election, are split equally between seven medical clinicians practising in the NMH, seven lay men and seven lay women.  Thus the Board, consistent with modern day corporate governance, has a majority of non-executives currently drawn with a background of SME business, IT, financial (accountants, actuaries, brokering) and legal. The clinicians drawn from different medical divisions operating in the NMH provide the appropriate experience in the relevant fields of medicine necessary to the Board in its determinations. The Board meets monthly and considers issues raised by the Finance Committee and other Committees as well as legal issues including any cases taken against the NMH and strategic issues. Reports are given at the monthly Board meeting by the Master, the Director of Midwifery and Nursing and the Financial Controller and regular presentations are given to the Board from units of the NMH so the Board has a full understanding of the working of the NMH which informs the Board when making decisions on all aspects of the NMH.  

Master

The Act maintains the successful system of the Mastership (a seven year term which cannot be renewed by the incumbent or a former Master) without which the NMH could not be run in the safe manner in which it currently operates for the annual delivery of approximately 9,000 new lives. The Master is ably assisted by the Director of Midwifery and Nursing, the Secretary & General Manager and the Financial Controller.  

Committees

NMH's equivalent to a company's articles of association are its Bye-laws and Regulations introduced in 1955 which have been amended on a number of occasions since. Under the Regulations there are seven sub-committees of the Board namely a Finance Committee, a QRPS Committee, an NMH Executive Ethics Committee, a House Committee, a Nominations Committee, an Audit Committee and a Co-Location Committee. The proceedings of the Board and Committees are conducted within the requirements of two codes adopted early in 2017.

The Finance Committee consists of the Executive Management Team of NMH, namely the Master (effectively the CEO), the Secretary & General Manager (effectively the COO), the Director of Midwifery and Nursing and the Financial Controller together with five lay representatives, namely the Deputy Chairman, the Honorary Treasurer, the Honorary Secretary and two members of the Executive Committee. The Finance Committee meets monthly dealing principally with financial and strategic matters which effectively covers all matters pertaining to the continual management of the NMH, accounts, income, expenditure both current and capital, budgets, retirements, resignations and replacements, insurance, procurement and regulatory matters and correspondence with the Department of Health, the HSE and Ireland East Hospitals Group. It reports to the Board monthly.

The other six committees meet regularly.

Governors

Governors Ex-Officio

Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Chair
Cllr. Nial Ring, Lord Mayor - Vice Chair
Dr Rhona Mahony, Master
Very Rev. Enda Cunningham, Administrator of the Parish of St. Andrew, Westland Row

Nominated by Dublin City Council

Cllr. Claire Byrne
Cllr. Mícheál Mac Donncha

Nominated by the Minister for Health

Ms Patricia O’Shea

Governors Elected

1969
Dr Alan O’Grady

1980
Dr John R McCarthy
Dr Niall O’Brien

1981
Mr J. Brian Davy

1983
Mrs Judith Meagher

1985
Dr J. T. Gallagher

1986
Mr Gabriel Hogan

1989
Mrs Anne Davy

1990
Mrs Margaret Anderson
Mrs Kathleen O’Grady

1991
Dr John F. Murphy

1992
Dr Frances Meagher
Mr Kevin Mays

1995
Dr Declan O’Keeffe
Prof. Colm O’Herlihy

1996
Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary

1997
Dr Peter Boylan

1998
Mrs Joanne Keane
Mrs Anne Murphy
Mr Frank Downey
Mr Anthony Garry

2000
Dr Freda Gorman

2001
Mrs Jane Collins
Ms Alexandra Spain
Mrs Margo McParland
Mrs Catherine Altman
Dr John Murphy (Paeds)

2003
Mr Niall Doyle
Ms Lydia Ensor
Ms Sara Appleby

2005
Ms Caroline Simons
Dr Peter Lenehan
Dr Orla Sheil
Prof. Peter McParland
Ms Sheena Carton
Ms Elaine Doyle
Prof. Declan Keane
Ms Maeve Dwyer

2007
Dr Kevin McKeating
Mrs Mary Donohoe

2008
Ms Catherine Ghose

2011
Mr Barry Dixon
Ms Paula Reid
Ms Suzanne O’Brien
Ms Margaret McCourt
Ms Bernie Spillane
Ms Teresa Murphy
Ms Eugenée Mulhern
Ms Fiona Davy

2012
Dr Deirdre MacDonald
Dr Michael Robson

2013
Prof. Fionnuala McAuliffe
Ms Isabel Foley
Ms Jane McCluskey
Cllr. Naoise  Ó Muirí
Ms Elizabeth Nolan

2014
Dr Ingrid Browne

2015
Mr Stephen Vernon
Ms Niamh Callaghan
Mr Padraig McManus
Ms Rachel Hussey
Ms Marie Daly Hutton
Ms Helen Caulfield
Ms Lisa Taggart
Mr Aidan Devlin
Mr Nicholas Kearns, Deputy Chairman

2016
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Ms Aoife O’Connor

2017
Ms Christine Moran
Ms Mairéad Butler
Hon. Mr Justice David Barniville

2018
Dr Roger McMorrow     

Executive Committee Members

Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Chair
Cllr. Nial Ring, Lord Mayor, Vice Chair
Mr Nicholas Kearns, Deputy Chair
Dr Rhona Mahony, Master
Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Very Rev. Enda Cunningham, Administrator of the Parish of St. Andrew, Westland Row
Hon. Mr Justice David Barniville
Dr Ingrid Browne
Cllr. Claire Byrne
Mr Aidan Devlin
Mr Frank Downey
Ms Isabel Foley
Prof. Declan Keane
Mr Kevin Mays
Ms Christine Moran
Ms Eugenée Mulhern
Dr John Murphy
Cllr. Mícheál Mac Donncha
Prof. Fionnuala McAuliffe
Ms Jane McCluskey
Prof. Peter McParland
Ms Elizabeth Nolan
Cllr. Naoise Ó Muirí
Prof. Colm O’Herlihy
Ms Patricia O’Shea
Dr Michael Robson
Mr Stephen Vernon

Sub-Committee Members of the Executive

Finance Committee

Mr Nicholas Kearns, Deputy Chair
Dr Rhona Mahony, Master
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary
Ms Isabel Foley
Ms Christine Moran
Mr Ronan Gavin, Secretary/General Manager
Ms Mary Brosnan, Director of Midwifery & Nursing
Mr Alistair Holland, Financial Controller

House Committee

Mrs Catherine Altman, Chair
Dr Rhona Mahony, Master
Ms Sara Appleby
Ms Sheena Carton
Mrs Jane Collins
Ms Fiona Davy
Mrs Elaine Doyle
Ms Lydia Ensor
Mrs Margaret McCourt
Mrs Margo McParland
Mrs Judith Meagher
Mrs Anne Murphy
Ms Teresa Murphy
Mrs Kathleen O’Grady
Ms Bernie Spillane

NMH Executive Ethics Committee

Dr John Murphy, Chair
Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary
Dr Rhona Mahony, Master
Ms Catherine Altman
Dr Peter Boylan
Dr Ingrid Browne
Mr Frank Downey
Ms Maeve Dwyer
Mr Kevin Mays

Nominations Committee

Mr Nicholas Kearns, Chair
Dr Peter Boylan
Prof. Declan Keane
Ms Eugenée Mulhern
Dr John Murphy
Ms Paula Reid

QRPS Committee

Ms Jane McCluskey (Chair)
Mr Aidan Devlin (Vice Chair)
Mr Frank Downey
Prof. Declan Keane
Ms Elizabeth Nolan
Prof. Colm O’Herlihy
Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí
Ms Patricia O’Shea

In Attendance
Dr Luke Feeney, Director of Quality, Risk and Patient Safety
Mr Ronan Gavin, Secretary/General Manager
Ms Mary Connolly, AON

Audit Committee

Mr Frank Downey, Chair
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Ms Mairéad Butler
Mr Aidan Devlin
Prof. Peter McParland
Mr Ronan Gavin, Secretary/General Manager