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 in 1936, 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 (now Dublin City Council) 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, governance, risk management, HR, property development, financial (accountants, actuaries, brokering), legal, education, research, leadership and strategy. 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, the Financial Controller and the various sub-committees. 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 Clinical Director, 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 Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin, Chair
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Alison Gilliland
Prof. Shane Higgins, Master
Very Rev. Enda Cunningham, Administrator of the Parish of St. Andrew, Westland Row

Nominated by Dublin City Council

Cllr. James Goeghegan
Ms Cat O'Driscoll

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
Ms Rachel Hussey
Ms Marie Daly Hutton
Ms Helen Caulfield
Ms Lisa Taggart
Mr Aidan Devlin
Mr Nicholas Kearns

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

2017
Ms Christine Moran
Ms Mairéad Butler

2018
Dr Roger McMorrow     

2019
Dr Paul Downey
Ms Kate Higgins
Dr Rhona Mahony
Ms Aoife O’Shea
Ms Caroline Devlin
Ms Denise Cole
Ms Graínne Hennessy

2021
Mr Pat McCann, Deputy Chair
Ms Nóirín O’Sullivan
 

Executive Committee Members

Dr Dermot Farrell, Archbishop of Dublin, Chair
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Alison Gilliland
Mr Pat McCann, Deputy Chair
Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Prof Shane Higgins, Master
Dr Ingrid Browne
Ms Mairead Butler
Ms Denise Cole
Very Rev Fr. Enda Cunningham
Mr Aidan Devlin
Mr Frank Downey
Cllr. James Geoghegan
Ms Grainne Hennessy
Prof. Declan Keane
Ms Christine Moran
Dr John Murphy
Prof. Fionnuala McAuliffe
Mr Pat McCann
Ms Jane McCluskey
Dr Roger McMorrow
Prof. Peter McParland
Cllr. Cat O'Driscoll
Prof. Colm O’Herlihy
Cllr. Naoise O'Muirí
Ms Patricia O’Shea
Ms Nóirín O’Sullivan
Dr Michael Robson
Mr Stephen Vernon

In Attendance
Mr Ronan Gavin, Secretary/General Manager
Ms Mary Brosnan, Director of Midwifery & Nursing
Mr Alistair Holland, Financial Controller

Members of Sub-Committees of the Executive

Finance Committee

Mr Pat McCann, Deputy Chair
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary
Prof. Shane Higgins, Master
Ms Christine Moran
Ms Denise Cole

In Attendance
Mr Ronan Gavin, Secretary/General Manager
Ms Mary Brosnan, Director of Midwifery & Nursing
Mr Alistair Holland, Financial Controller

Audit Committee

Mr Aidan Devlin, Chair
Mr Frank Downey
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Ms Mairéad Butler

In Attendance
Mr Ronan Gavin, Secretary/General Manager
Mr Alistair Holland, Financial Controller
Ms Ann Rath, Asst. Director of Midwifery & Nursing

Co-Location Committee 

Mr Stephen Vernon, Chair
Mr Pat McCann, Deputy Chair
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Ms Graínne Hennessy
Dr Roger McMorrow

In Attendance
Prof Shane Higgins, Master
Dr Orla Sheil
Ms Pauline Treanor
Mr Ronan Gavin Secretary/General Manager

QRPS Committee

Ms Mairéad Butler, Chair
Mr Aidan Devlin
Dr Ingrid Browne
Prof Declan Keane
Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe
Ms Jane McCluskey
Dr Roger McMorrow
Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí
Ms Patricia O’Shea

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

Nominations Committee

Mr Pat McCann, Chair
Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Prof Shane Higgins
Ms Denise Cole
Prof Declan Keane
Ms Eugenée Mulhern
Dr John Murphy
Ms Paula Reid

In Attendance
Mr Ronan Gavin Secretary/General Manager

Medical Fund Committee

Mr William Johnston, Honorary Secretary, Chair
Prof. Shane Higgins, Master
Mr Frank Downey
Ms Grainne Hennessy
Prof. Peter McParland
Prof Declan Keane

In Attendance
Ms Michele Connolly, Honorary Treasurer
Mr Ronan Gavin, Secretary/General Manager
Mr Alistair Holland, Financial Controller
Mr Francis Rogers, Management Accountant

NMH Executive Ethics Committee

Dr John Murphy, Chair
Prof. Shane Higgins, Master
Ms Catherine Altman
Dr Peter Boylan
Dr Ingrid Browne
Ms Densie Cole
Ms Caroline Devlin
Mr Frank Downey
Dr Paul Downey
Ms Jane McCluskey
Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí

In Attendance
Mr Ronan Gavin Secretary/General Manager

House Committee

Mrs Catherine Altman, Chair
Prof. Shane Higgins, Master
Ms Sara Appleby
Ms Sheena Carton
Mrs Jane Collins
Ms Fiona Davy
Mrs Elaine Doyle
Ms Lydia Ensor
Ms Kate Higgins
Mrs Margaret McCourt
Mrs Judith Meagher
Mrs Anne Murphy
Ms Teresa Murphy
Mrs Kathleen O’Grady
Ms Aoife O’Shea
Ms Bernie Spillane

In Attendance
Ms Mary Brosnan, Director of Midwifery & Nursing

Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose (last updated, Q4, 2021).

Annual Report 2020

The National Maternity Hospital's Annual Report 2020 can be downloaded below.

Annual Report 2020