All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care

About Us Page


Karen Charnley


Karen Charnley – Head of Institute

As Head of Institute, Karen provides strategic leadership for All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) which includes leading the Institute Team, liaising with Institute partners and funders  and ensuring the delivery of the Institute Business Plan. Karen will also represent the Institute  on key regional and national fora and contribute to palliative care policy and strategic discussions.

Karen has significant leadership and management experience in a range of sectors including housing, economic development and offender management. She was previously a Programme Manager within the Institute where she led on the development of the Palliative Hub.



Dr Tara Murphy – Programme Manager Tara

Tara is a Programme Manager (formerly Programme Manager Research) with the Institute since 2012 having strategic, operational and performance management responsibilities. She manages a wide portfolio of research, capacity building and knowledge transfer initiatives, most significant of these is the Palliative Care Research Network, Postdoctoral and Clinical Research Fellowships, Early Career Researcher Forum, and most recently, the Knowledge Transfer & Dissemination Initiative (KEDS).

In previous roles, Tara led on a number of research projects as well as overseeing the management of multiple complex evaluations including randomised controlled trials and process evaluations. She has a proven track record in the dissemination, utilisation and application of research findings and evidence-based programmes for policy and practice. She was a member of the Strategic Steering Committee that oversaw the establishment of the Children’s Research Network Ireland & Northern Ireland. She has extensive experience in managing significant change particularly from a community development perspective. Tara was Membership Secretary of the Psychological Society of Ireland from 2009-2012, and a part-time Lecturer on the Behavioural Science course for six years in the School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. She holds a PhD in Psychology (TCD) focusing on the area of autistic spectrum disorders and parental support, a BSc (Hons) Psychology, & a BA Health Sciences (Microbiology). She has published widely and presented at both national and international fora.



Brendan O’Hara, Programme Manager

BOHBrendan O’Hara has been supporting the development and delivery of palliative care since 2012.

Joining All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) as Programme Manager for Policy and Practice in January 2012, Brendan led a number of projects at AIIHPC, including a key initiative to involve service users, carers and the wider community in its work – Voices4Care; development of the ‘Let’s Talk About’ survey; supporting the Palliative Care Senior Nurse Network; and a round table policy event involving key senior figures from across the island of Ireland and internationally.

From December 2013 Brendan led the two-year Transforming Your Palliative and End of Life Care Programme in Northern Ireland. An initiative of Marie Curie and the Health and Social Care Board/Public Health Agency, the programme supported the redesign and delivery of coordinated services to enable people with palliative and end of life care needs to be cared for at home or as close to home as possible, as appropriate.

In January 2016 Brendan returned to AIIHPC as Programme Manager where he is supporting implementation of key elements of the Institute’s work programmes. This includes continuing to partner with services users, carers and communities; and networking with AIIHPC partners and care organisations, government departments and agencies, education institutions, voluntary and statutory sectors agencies and international organisations, to advance the provision of palliative care nationally and internationally.



Dr Cathy Payne – Programme Manager

Capture (2)Cathy joined AIIHPC as Programme Manager in May 2016 and is based in Northern Ireland. Along with the other programme managers she supports the Institute partners in the development and delivery of best palliative care to those facing incurable and life-threatening illness; building and nurturing close working relationships between clinicians, researchers and educationalists across the island of Ireland and beyond. In particular, Cathy is supporting the ongoing development of the Palliative Hub, Online learning programmes and modules and the AIIHPC Partners Education Network.

Cathy was the first AIIHPC Doctoral Fellow, supported by the Health & Social Care Research & Development Division of the Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland). Her PhD, entitled “Rehabilitation in Palliative Care: A Novel Exploratory Study” focused on people with advanced inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the potential role of palliative rehabilitation in the symptom management of this condition. She was worked within specialist palliative care since 2004, as a clinical dietitian, a lecturer and a researcher. Before taking up her current post, Cathy chaired the PCRN Early Career Researcher Forum and worked as a Palliative Care Educator in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Dublin.



Mary Kearns

Mary Kearns – Office Manager 

Mary manages the day to day running of the office and provides operational support to the Head of Institute, ensuring that effective communication is in place at all times. She also supports the Management Committee and the Finance and HR Sub-Committee. In addition, she works with the Director on the Institute’s funding and granting activities. Mary previously worked in the Ombudsman for Children’s Office.



Bernadette Pirihi – Administration Support

Bernadette PirihiAs Administration Support Bernadette plays a key role in AIIHPC, providing reception duties along with administrative support to the Office Manager, Head of Institute and Programme Managers. She assists the Office Manager and senior staff in the planning and implementation of a variety of projects. Bernadette also has responsibility for financial aspects and is the main contact person for invoicing and payments at the Institute.



Gareth Wescott – Digital Manager and Developer

Gareth’s role is to proactively promote web and digital best practice throughout the Institute. Gareth leads on the development of networks, websites and online learning and the provision of training and technical support to colleagues and collaborating partners. Gareth leads on the technical development of The Palliative Hub.







All-Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care at Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services, Harold's Cross, Dublin 6. Tel: +353 (0)1 491 2948. Email: