All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care




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.

Email: [email protected]


Brendan O’Hara, Programme Manager

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,Brendan 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.

Email: [email protected]


Dr Cathy Payne – Programme Manager

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.

Email: [email protected]


Dr Mary Rabbitte – Programme ManagerMary Rabbitte

Mary joined AIIHPC as a Programme Manager in April 2017 where she leads on the Institute’s research programme and supports the continued strategic development of the Institute’s Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN).  As well as working collaboratively as part of the AIIHPC team on the strategic and operational implementation of the Institute’s programmes.
Mary is an experienced and creative researcher and educator who has managed, developed and delivered research, education and consultancy programmes in the academic, health care and business sectors. As a clinician she has also worked psychotherapeutically with people with life limiting illnesses with special focus on people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).  Her research master’s focussed on identifying psychological and psychotherapeutic approaches for people with MND and her doctoral thesis is in Chemistry. She has a particular interest in identifying people’s needs in relation to palliative care and empowering people to feel competent in providing best practice care.

Email: [email protected]


Marie McKeonMarie McKeon – Project Manager: Knowledge Transfer

Marie joined the AIIHPC as a Project Manager in April of 2017.
Marie will project manage dissemination, knowledge transfer and exchange activities and initiatives, associated with the Palliative Care Research Network, the Early Career Research Forum, and AIIHPC’s Palliative Hub.  Supporting the Programme Manager, Mary Rabbitte, Marie is directly involved in the development and delivery of on-the-ground and online educational and skills training around knowledge transfer and exchange.  Also, Marie works collaboratively with the wider AIIHPC’s team supporting, planning and coordinating AIIHPC’s communication activities and research-related events.  
Marie has a strong commercial background and extensive marketing, project management and consumer educational experience from working in the private sector acting as a Brand– and New Product Development- project manager for the past decade.  She has worked with highly innovative and recognisable health food brand leaders and organisations on pioneering nationwide educational health focused projects targeting both the general public and consumers with specific dietary requirements such as those suffering from Coeliac disease.  Marie holds a degree in Business Management complemented by the acquisition of a Professional Diploma in Education.

Email: [email protected]


Dr Ann Leahy, Project Manager

Dr Ann Leahy has a legal background having trained and worked as a Solicitor in a commercial practice early in her career. She subsequently moved to the voluntary sector and worked for over a decade as the Assistant CEO of Age & Opportunity where she was responsible for the organisation’s arts work, public affairs and policy. She has a Master’s degree in Social Justice and Public Policy and has undertaken a variety of research projects, particularly within the community and voluntary sectors on a range of areas (such as poverty, unemployment and education). In June 2018, she completed a PhD on ageing and disability at the Sociology Dept., Maynooth University with support from the Irish Research Council. Her thesis examines policy and services in disability and ageing and also subjective experiences of physical and sensory disability with two groups of older people – those ageing with long-standing disability and those first experiencing disability as they age.

Email: [email protected] 



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 Council of Partners 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.

Email: [email protected]



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.

Email: [email protected]



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.

Email: [email protected]






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: [email protected]