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Prof Ronan O’Connell elected as new RCSI President

RCSI has announced the election of Prof Ronan O’Connell as the new President of the College.

Prof O’Connell takes up office following the College’s biennial Council Elections. He replaces outgoing President, Mr Kenneth Mealy. 

Prof O’Connell is Emeritus Professor of Surgery, University College Dublin (UCD) and Consultant Surgeon at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. An international leader in the field of colorectal surgery, he is also the incoming President of the European Surgical Association.

Prof Laura Viani, Consultant Otolaryngologist and Neurotologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, and  Children’s University Hospital Temple Street, Dublin, has been elected as the new Vice-President. She is Director and Professor of the National Cochlear Implant Programme and Hearing Research Centre.

Speaking on his appointment, Prof O’Connell said: “It is my great honour to be elected today as President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

“My presidency of RCSI will be like no other in our 236-year history as the Covid-19 pandemic has presented our surgical community with unprecedented challenges that will shape the future of surgery for years to come.

“Covid-19 may at present keep us apart physically but as a community of surgeons we are united in the task of re-establishing safe, timely and equitable access to elective surgery. I look forward to working with our community of 9,500 Fellows and Members across 86 countries as we face the challenges ahead, to sharing our expertise and to building a virtual network for continuing surgical education.

“I am particularly conscious of supporting our surgical trainees whose training has been disrupted by the Covid restrictions.  RCSI will use the excellent facilities of the National Clinical and Surgical Skills Centre at 26 York Street to provide innovative ways of training to complement hospital experience. I will advocate on behalf of our trainees and will work with the Irish Medical Council and sister Colleges to ensure training and career progression is secure.”

Prof O’Connell was educated in Terenure College and Trinity College Dublin. His surgical training in Dublin and Cork was followed by specialist training in colon and rectal surgery at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, US. He previously held the roles of Consultant /Senior Lecturer at the London Hospital and Consultant Surgeon at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. In 2002, he became a Newman Clinical Professor in UCD and in 2007 moved to St Vincent’s University Hospital as Professor of Surgery and Head of Subject in UCD.

Since his election to the Council RCSI in 2008, he has served on multiple committees and working groups including: Chair of the Audit Committee; Irish Surgical Postgraduate Training Committee (ISPTC); and the Court of Examiners. He is an elected member of the Society of Pelvic Surgeons, European Surgical Association and the International Surgical Group. He was a former Secretary and President of the European Society of Coloproctology.

Prof O’Connell has published widely in the areas of inflammatory bowel disease, pelvic floor physiology and colorectal cancer, authoring more than 300 publications. He was editor of the British Journal of Surgery from 1999 to 2006. He is the RCS England Hunterian Orator for 2019-2020.

Prof O’Connell has been awarded Honorary Fellowships of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong, the American Surgical Association and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

The RCSI Council for 2020-2022 comprises Prof O’Connell, Prof Viani, Mr Kenneth Mealy, Mr David Quinlan, Mr James Geraghty, Prof Paul Burke, Mr Eamon Mackle, Prof Kevin Conlon, Mr David Moore, Prof K. Simon Cross, Prof H. Paul Redmond, Prof Michael Kerin, Prof Thomas H. Lynch, Ms Margaret O’Donnell, Ms Camilla Carroll, Mr Paddy Kenny, Ms Bridget Egan, Prof Deborah McNamara, Mr Keith Synnott, Prof Ronan Cahill and Prof David Healy.

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