Our Story

We believed you could rebuild your life after a brain injury – We just had to prove it – So we did.

Through our expert community rehabilitation services, we support people with brain injury and their families to rebuild and return to leading independent lives with confidence.

Our Vision

A society where brain injury is understood and all those impacted receive world-class, personalised rehabilitation and support, as and when they need it.

Our Mission

We will passionately serve and relentlessly advocate to empower and support people impacted by brain injury to rebuild their lives.


The early years


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early-years Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Barbara O'Connell with her brother, Peter Bradley


Peter Bradley, brother of CEO Barbara O’Connell, suffers his second serious brain injury through a road traffic collision at the age of 42.


Due to health complications, including memory problems caused by his brain injury, and in the absence of any more appropriate rehabilitation services, Peter is moved to a nursing home for people affected by dementia.


Driven to do something about the wide and persisting gap in brain injury rehabilitation services, Barbara and her husband Maurice establish Acquired Brain Injury Ireland as ‘The Peter Bradley Foundation’. They want to find a more appropriate home for Peter where he can regain his independence and live life to the fullest.

Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Barbara O’Connell with her brother, Peter Bradley


In November the organisation becomes an incorporated company, limited by guarantee. Its mission is “to be the service provider of choice to people with Acquired Brain Injury and their families, to enable them to maximise their potential within their communities.”

A business case is made to the HSE and the Eastern Health Board, resulting in a grant to adapt a house and provide staff to support three brain injury survivors in a home-from-home setting – including Peter.


On 24th September the organisation celebrates the opening of the first residence in Ireland providing a ‘home from home’ and dedicated support services for people living with an acquired brain injury. Together with two other survivors, Peter moves into ‘Anvers’ on Adelaide Road, Dublin.

Peter Bradley and housemates at their home, Anvers, in Glenageary

As demand for its services increases, the Board of Directors appoints Barbara O’Connell as Chief Executive of the The Peter Bradley Foundation.

Growing the organisation


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growing-the-organisation Official opening of Lisrath, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland's Assisted Living service in County Louth


Acquired Brain Injury Ireland becomes the country’s first organisation to win CARF accreditation, a prestigious quality mark signalling that its services meet or exceed international best practice. According to CARF: “This achievement is an indication of your organisation’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the persons-served.”

In November, the organisation celebrates its growth to national level as it opens its first house outside of Dublin, in Limerick.


Anvers Housing Association is founded as a partner organisation of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, to meet the demand for more homes with brain injury support in new areas of the country.

Following a successful pilot programme, the company extends its services to include brain injury support within people’s homes and communities. Community rehabilitation outreach service.


New Assisted Living homes for brain injury survivors open in Ellensborough, Dublin and Clarecastle near Ennis, County Clare. A new house is also opened next door to ‘Anvers’ in Glenageary.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s Assisted Living services in Clarecastle, County Clare, open in 2005


Further Assisted Living homes are opened including a second house in Clarecastle and one on Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire.

The organisation also opens its first dedicated day service in the grounds of the National Rehabilitation Hospital – a ‘Clubhouse’ where brain injury survivors can meet one another and take part in rehabilitation activities. It is unique because it is run by and for members, with the support of staff. It was in the grounds of the old NRH.


An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD officially opens the latest Assisted Living house on Mobhi Road in Glasnevin, bringing the total number of dedicated homes for survivors of brain injury to 14.


On March 4th ‘Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’ officially becomes the new name for The Peter Bradley Foundation.

A new Clubhouse opens in Northumberland Hall, Dun Laoghaire. This is a space run by brain injury survivors, for brain injury survivors.


In May, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland opens its first Transitional Living Unit in Sligo: a specialised, shorter-term residence for individuals preparing for a return to their homes and communities following their brain injuries.

Jim Gilligan pictured at the opening of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s first Transitional Living Unit in Sligo

As it marks its 10th birthday, the organisation publishes Ireland’s first comprehensive Guide to Brain Injury to help individuals and their families understand the impact of brain injury on their lives.


The National Strategy and Policy for Neuro-rehabilitation Services is published by the Department of Health and the HSE.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland picks up the award for Clinical Researcher of the Year at the Irish Healthcare Awards, and a Changing Tomorrow Award from Astellas Pharma.


The first annual Bake for Brain Injury fundraising drive is launched.

The organisation also partners with the GAA and the GPA to launch a campaign to educate players about the dangers of concussion in the sport.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland launches its first Assisted Living service in the north-east at ‘Lisrath’, the former residence of Derek Crilly, brain injury survivor and former Louth Hurler. The opening enables Derek to return to his family home. A second house is opened in 2012 in Mountbolus, County Offaly.

Official opening of Lisrath, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s Assisted Living service in County Louth

Chief Executive Barbara O’Connell wins the prestigious Women Mean Business Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Keeping momentum


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keeping-momentum Step Ahead Plus, a new vocational assessment and rehabilitation service is launched by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland


The first European Brain Injury and Sport Conference is hosted in partnership with the European Brain Injury Society at the Aviva Stadium.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland becomes the first organisation in Europe to design and launch an Irish version of the Certified Brain Injury Specialists training programme for frontline professionals.

Graduates of the Certified Brain Injury Specialists training programme for frontline workers, 2013

The company is declared the overall winner of the Social Enterprise Category of the Ulster Bank Achievers Awards.

A new logo for the organisation is revealed, reflecting the values of connection and community central to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and its work.


As part of its mission to speak up for brain injury survivors, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland issues its first pre-budget submission to Government, calling for investment in better rehabilitation services and supports.


A new Concussion App is launched. ‘Concussion Smart’ gives players, parents and coaches a guide to recognising the symptoms of concussion and guidelines for how to respond.


Minister for Disabilities Finian McGrath TD launches Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s research report ‘Getting My Life Reset’, produced in partnership with the University of Limerick. The report investigates the experience of those living with an acquired brain injury in Ireland.

More than 200 Family Carers attend the organisation’s first National Carers Conference.

Chief Executive of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Barbara O’Connell, pictured with Miriam O’Callaghan and Dr Eddie Murphy at the organisation’s first National Carers Conference 2017

In Letterkenny, County Donegal, a new purpose-built Assisted Living home is opened in partnership with Anvers Housing.


The new all-of-Government Sláintecare strategy is launched, including a commitment to implement the Neuro-rehabilitation Strategy. The launch coincides with the ratification in Ireland of the UNCRPD.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland hosts the inaugural #BrainPower Research Seminar


An Implementation Framework for the Neuro-rehabilitation Strategy is published by the HSE. Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is represented on the Policy Working Group.

With support from Pobal through the Dormant Accounts Fund, the organisation initiates ‘On With Life’, a new support network for family members and those caring for someone with an acquired brain injury.

Members of the ‘On With Life’ team pictured with Psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy

Within months Step Ahead is launched as a new vocational rehabilitation programme to support brain injury survivors to return to work or education.

Step Ahead Plus, a new vocational assessment and rehabilitation service is launched by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland


The arrival in Ireland of Covid-19 requires Acquired Brain Injury Ireland to transition many of its services online. The organisation becomes one of the first providers of ‘telerehab’ services in the country.

Sligo-based Community Rehabilitation Assistant Gavin McGuire meets with brain injury survivors via Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic


The Ombudsman’s Office publishes the ‘Wasted Lives’ report, shining a light on the systemic misplacement of young people with acquired brain injuries in nursing homes.

‘Cloch Cara’ opens in Waterford City – a new state-of-the-art Assisted Living development in partnership with Anvers Housing.

Staff and residents are pictured at the opening of Cloch Cara, a new state-of-the-art assisted living service for Waterford City, opened in partnership between Anvers Housing and Acquired Brain Injury Ireland

A new strand of the ‘On With Life’ programme is piloted through funding from the Community Foundation for Ireland and the RTÉ Late Late Toy Show Appeal, to support parents of children living with an acquired brain injury.


In the wake of the pandemic, ‘Rehabilitation Anywhere’ is launched as an online resource hub for brain injury survivors, their families and carers. The hub is made available to anyone, regardless of geographic location.


Acquired Brain Injury Ireland hosts the world’s largest gathering of brain injury professionals at the 14th biennial World Congress on Brain Injury in Dublin’s Convention Centre.

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