Our Board

We are governed in our work by a voluntary Board of Directors made up of medical and business experts who ensure that our activities are consistent with our mission and objectives. None of the Board members receive fees for their time or contribution to the Irish Heart Foundation, nor reimbursements for any expenses incurred.

Professor Emer Shelley, President

Professor Emer Shelley is the President of the Irish Heart Foundation. A public health expert with a special interest in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, Prof Shelley is a Fellow and currently Dean of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. She is also a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health in the UK.

Prof Shelley is a retired specialist in public health medicine and also served as Clinical Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She completed her Masters in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

With a strong background in cardiovascular epidemiology and prevention, Prof Shelley has had a long association with the Irish Heart Foundation. She served as Project Leader of the Kilkenny Health Project, a demonstration project which aimed to reduce death and disability from heart disease in Ireland and subsequently served as Medical Director of the Foundation.

Prof Shelley also served as a member of the Cardiovascular Health Strategy Group which produced a report entitled Building Healthier Hearts in 2000. She was Chair of the Steering Group of the National Acute Stroke Register and served as public health lead for the HSE’s Clinical and Integrated Programmes for Older People.


Aisling Blake

Aisling Blake is a Director in the DACH region for Facebook. From 2009 to 2018 she worked at Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications group, serving as Managing Director of Radical, Core’s digital agency, before becoming Chief Digital Officer of Core in January 2018.

A graduate of UCD, Aisling also holds an MSc in Marketing Practice from the UCD Michael Smurfit Business School and an Advanced Diploma in Management Practice from the University of Ulster.

Aisling has more than 15 years’ experience in digital marketing and communications and has also served as Chair of the Online Marketing Group of the Irish Internet Association.

Coupled with her extensive experience in digital advertising, Aisling also has a personal interest in heart disease after sadly losing her father to a heart attack in 1995.


Dr Aidan Buckley

Dr Aidan Buckley is a consultant cardiologist at Wexford General and Waterford University Hospitals.

Dr Buckley qualified in medicine in 1989 from University College Cork. He worked as Medical Registrar in Limerick Regional Hospital, prior to commencing Cardiology training in St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. He then took up a position as Research Fellow/ Senior Lecturer in the Cardiac Department of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, before returning to Ireland.

He was appointed Consultant Cardiologist to South Tipperary General Hospital in 2004 and subsequently moved to his current position in 2005. His clinical interests include sports cardiology, transoesophageal echocardiography and the promotion of public-access defibrillation.


Dr Walter Cullen

Dr Walter Cullen is a GP and Professor of Urban General Practice at University College Dublin (UCD).

As the head of General Practice at the UCD School of Medicine, Dr Cullen is responsible for teaching and research in general practice. Prior to his appointment at UCD, Dr Cullen was the Foundation Professor of General Practice at the Graduate Entry Medical School at the University of Limerick.

Dr Cullen qualified in medicine from UCD and is a member of both the Irish College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK.

He also currently works as a GP in Dublin and has a special interest in mental health and in the health of vulnerable groups including drug users and people living in socio-economically deprived areas.


Deirdre Flannery

Deirdre Flannery is an Independent Non-Executive Director, with extensive senior executive and board level experience in the financial services sector. She is a chartered accountant and a member of the Institute of Directors where she recently completed the Chartered Director Programme (Certificate and Diploma, with Distinction).

She previously worked as Chief Operating Officer with New Ireland Assurance, one of Ireland’s leading life assurance and pension providers.

Prior to that, Deirdre served as Group Chief Internal Auditor at the Bank of Ireland Group, providing independent assurance on the group’s risk management and internal control environments to internal and external stakeholders, including the group’s and key subsidiaries’ boards and regulators. She also served as Managing Director of Bank of Ireland Securities Services, the fund administration and custody business of the Bank of Ireland Group, which supported a global fund manager client base.

Deirdre also spent five years as Head of the Global Customer Group in Bank of Ireland Treasury, leading sales teams providing treasury solutions to retail, corporate and institutional clients at home and abroad.

She previously held a number of senior roles in the Bank of Ireland Group including Finance Director of the Capital Markets Division and Director of Global Project Finance.


Brian Goggin

Brian Goggin spent 40 years at Bank of Ireland and was Group Chief Executive for five years until his retirement in 2009.

He had a varied career in both retail and wholesale banking and held senior management positions with the Bank of Ireland Group in the US, UK and Ireland.

Mr Goggin served as adviser to Apollo Global Management from 2010 to 2015. He is presently a non-executive director of MidCap Financial where he serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee and he is also a member of the Compensation, Executive and Risk Management Committees. He is also a non-executive director on a number of Apollo sponsored investment entities.

He is a chartered certified accountant and a graduate of Trinity College Dublin with an MSc in Management. He is also past President of the Institute of Bankers and President Emeritus of the Irish Chapter of the Ireland US Council.


Professor Joe Harbison

Professor Joe Harbison is a consultant in medicine for the elderly and stroke medicine at St James’s Hospital in Dublin and Associate Professor of Gerontology at Trinity College Dublin.

Prof Harbison initially trained in Dublin and then received his higher specialist training in North East England. He worked as a consultant physician and senior lecturer in Yorkshire before coming to Trinity College Dublin in 2006. Between 2009 and 2017 he served as the HSE National Clinical Lead for Stroke in Ireland.

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, the Royal College of Physicians of London and the European Stroke Organisation. He is also Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning in the School of Medicine in Trinity College Dublin.

Prof Harbison’s research and clinical interests are around stroke and cerebrovascular disease and he is also interested in the causes of cognitive impairment, fatigue, and psychological distress in people with stroke, as well as post-stroke fatigue and anxiety disorder, and atrial fibrillation.


Gerard McErlean

Gerard McErlean is a solicitor and currently the managing partner in Maguire McErlean Solicitors established in 1982. He is also a Notary Public and has acted as mediator in several commercial matters.

Originally from Belfast he graduated from UCD in 1978 before establishing his own practice. He is currently an advisor and director of several start-up companies.

He is fully committed to supporting and developing the fight against heart disease and stroke prevention.


Dr Paul Oslizlok

Dr Paul Oslizlok is a consultant paediatric cardiologist at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

He qualified in medicine from University College Dublin in 1979 and carried out his specialist paediatric cardiology training in the world-famous Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

With more than 30 years’ experience in paediatric cardiology Dr Oslizlok is currently Clinical Director at Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin (formerly Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin) and Clinical Lead for the Republic of Ireland of the All-Ireland Congenital Heart Network. He is one of Ireland’s foremost specialists in this area and his research has been widely published.

Dr Oslizlok also served as President of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association from June 2008 to 2010.


Wally Young

Wally Young is a public relations consultant and media trainer who provides a mix of public relations consultancy, advocacy and media interview training to a select range of clients. He specialises in crisis media planning and execution. He is the former Head of Media Relations for the Defence Forces. He retired in 1996 to establish Young Communications.

Mr Young was engaged as communications adviser to the anti-tobacco organisation ASH Ireland for 20 years up to 2017, after which he was appointed to the board of ASH Ireland. He advised both ASH Ireland and the Irish Heart Foundation in the lead up-to and introduction of the workplace smoking ban in 2004.

Mr Young was engaged as a media adviser (part-time) over an eleven-year period to both President Michael D Higgins and President Mary McAleese. He advised President McAleese in her 1997 election campaign and President Higgins in his recent re-election campaign.