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 received 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 a Board of 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 increased the number of Governors up to 100.  The Governors are essentially, in modern corporate language, the shareholders of the NMH. Their principal duties are to elect the ordinary members of the Board at each Annual General Meeting and to elect the Master once every seven years.  

Executive Committee

The Act devolved the management and operational control of the NMH to an Executive Committee which in modern language is 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 two nominations from Dublin Corporation (currently these are from the Green and Sinn Fein parties) and the Government’s interest is represented through the ability of the Minister for Health to appoint two nominees (these are currently in place). 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 medical clinicians practicing 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, the House Committee and other Committees as well as legal issues including any cases taken against the NMH. Reports are given at the monthly Board meeting by the Master and the Director of Midwifery and Nursing, 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 over 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 Rules and Bye-laws introduced in 1955 which have been amended on a number of occasions since. Under the Rules there are six sub-committees of the Board namely a Finance Committee, a Risk Committee, an Ethics Committee, a House Committee, a Nominations Committee and an Audit Committee. 

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 four lay representatives, namely the Deputy Chairman, the Honorary Treasurer, the Honorary Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee.  The Finance Committee meets monthly dealing principally with financial 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 correspondence with the HSE and Ireland East Hospitals Group. It reports to the Board monthly.

A long standing committee is the House Committee which meets regularly. Its primary activity is regular inspections of the NMH. The NMH building having been built in the 1930s is in constant need of maintenance and the regular inspections highlight these needs which are brought to the attention of the Board and, subject to available funds, appropriate repairs are directed by the Board to be carried out.

The other four committees meet regularly.  The Nominations Committee assesses the suitability of persons to be nominated for election as Governors or as board members.

Governors

Board of Governors

Governors Ex-Officio

Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Chairperson
Cllr. Nial Ring, Lord Mayor - Vice Chairperson
Dr Rhona Mahony, Master
Very Rev. Fachtna McCarthy, Administrator, Parish of Haddington Road
Very Rev. John McDonagh, Parish Priest of the Parish of Sandymount
Very Rev. Enda Cunningham, Administrator of the Parish of St. Andrew, Westland Row

Nominated by Dublin City Council

Cllr Claire Byrne

Nominated by the Minister for Health

Ms Patricia O’Shea
Ms Pamela Fay

Nominated by Dublin City Council

Cllr Claire Byrne

Nominated by the Minister for Health

Ms Patricia O’Shea
Ms Pamela Fay

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

1984
*Dr Dermot MacDonald

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
*Professor 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
Dr Peter McParland
Ms Sheena Carton
Ms Elaine Doyle
Dr 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
Mr David Barniville

2018
Dr Roger McMorrow      

* denotes life member 

 

Sub-Committee Members of the Executive

Finance Committee

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

House Committee

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

NMH Executive Ethics Committee

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

Nominations Committee

Mr Nicholas Kearns, Chairperson
Dr Declan Keane
Ms Paula Reid
Ms Eugenée Mulhern
Dr John Murphy

Risk Committee

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

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

Audit Committee

Mr Frank Downey, Chair
Ms Michele Connelly
Dr Peter McParland
Mr Aidan Devlin
Ms Mairéad Butler
Mr Ronan Gavin

Executive Committee Members

Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Chairman
Cllr. Mícheál Mac Donncha, Ardmhéara, Vice Chairperson
Mr Nicholas Kearns, Deputy Chairman
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
Dr Ingrid Browne
Cllr Claire Byrne
Mr Aidan Devlin
Mr Frank Downey
Ms Pamela Fay
Ms Isobel Foley
Dr Declan Keane
Mr Kevin Mays
Ms Eugenée Mulhern
Dr John Murphy
Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe
Ms Jane McCluskey
Dr Peter McParland
Ms Elizabeth Nolan
Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí
Prof. Colm O’Herlihy
Ms Patricia O’Shea
Dr Michael Robson
Mr Stephen Vernon
Mr David Barniville
Ms Christine Moran