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We’re calling on healthcare professionals to join our Step Ahead experts this May in Cork and Dublin to learn all about the benefits of our new vocational assessment service geared to help young people after brain injury. Step Ahead is an exciting new initiative focused on getting young brain injury survivors back to work, training or education.

Step Ahead Cork, 8 May at 11.00am:

  • Join us in the Kingsley Hotel at Victoria Cross in CorkNO REPRO FEE 15/4/2019 Acquired Brain Injury Ireland today launched a new Step Ahead initiative in Cork and Dublin to help young people return to work or education after Brain Injury. Sinead Stack (right), Senior Occupational Therapist from Step Ahead Cork, and brain injury survivor Niamh Cahill from Mountrath, Laois launched the vocational assessment programme that is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. Step Ahead is for people aged 18-29 years who have sustained a brain injury. For information see PHOTO: Mark Stedman
  • 11.00am – learn about the benefits of our new Step Ahead initiative from our Senior Occupational Therapist Sinead Stack
  • 11.30am – photo opportunity! We’ll be taking photos for issue to local media to help raise awareness of the Step Ahead service in Cork.
  • 10am-2pm – We know you’re busy, which is why our ‘Meet and Greet’ day allows you to pop in to us between 10am and 2pm, with whatever time you can spare.
  • Refreshments served throughout the day
  • Rsvp to Sinead:

Step Ahead Dublin, 15 May at 10.00am:

  • Join us in The Carlton Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin
  • 10.00am –  Have a go on our VALPAR vocational assessment kit and enjoy refreshments
  • 11.00am – Hear from our expert Senior Occupational Therapist Emer Duffy and our Brain Injury Ambassador Michael NO REPRO FEE 15/4/2019 Acquired Brain Injury Ireland Ambassadors, former Irish rugby international Kevin McLaughlin and broadcaster and author Diana Bunici came out with brain injury survivors, Niamh Cahill from Mountrath, County Laois and Stephen Shortall from Durrow, County Laois to help young brain injury survivors get a #STEPAHEAD with the launch of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s new vocational assessment programme to help individuals return to work or education after brain injury. STEP AHEAD has two offices in Dublin and Cork and it is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. PHOTO: Mark Stedman
  • 11.30am – photo opportunity! We’ll be taking photos for issue to local media to help raise awareness of the Step Ahead service in Dublin.
  • 12.00pm – light lunch served
  • 1.00pm – Postural and Mind-body Strategies for Wellbeing at work
  • Please Rsvp to Emer by 7th May:

We’ll be there to tell you how you can refer clients to our STEP AHEAD vocational assessments and explain the benefits for young people after brain injury.

Our Step Ahead programme was offiicially launched with Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty TD and celebrities former rugby star Kevin McLaughlin and broadcaster/author Diana Bunici. You can also read more about our STEP AHEAD programme here.

STEP AHEAD is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.





Minister Regina Doherty joined Kevin McLaughlin and Diana Bunici to launch our new #STEPAHEAD initiative to help young people return to work after brain injury.

NO REPRO FEE 15/4/2019 Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD (centre), with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland Ambassadors former Irish rugby international Kevin McLaughlin and broadcaster and author Diana Bunici came out to help young brain injury survivors get a #STEPAHEAD with the launch of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s new vocational assessment programme to help individuals return to work or education after brain injury. Pictured with Minister Doherty and the Ambassadors are brain injury survivors, Niamh Cahill from Mountrath, County Laois and Stephen Shortall from Durrow, County Laois. STEP AHEAD has two offices in Dublin and Cork and it is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

“Let’s give our young people a STEP AHEAD after brain injury”

This was the latest message from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s CEO Barbara O’Connell at the launch of a new initiative to help young brain injury survivors get back to work and education.

Get back to work or education with #StepAhead

With an estimated 19,000 brain injuries acquired annually in Ireland from causes including stroke, road traffic accidents and falls, the latest STEP AHEAD initiative is a practical vocational assessment programme targeting 18-29 year olds affected by brain injury. Lining out to support young brain injury survivors was former Irish rugby international Kevin McLaughlin, joined by broadcaster and author Diana Bunici and Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty. The STEP AHEAD programme is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

Every participant gets their own vocational plan

Barbara O’Connell, Chief Executive with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland said: “Brain injuries can happen in the blink of an eye. When it happens, it turns your life upside down, often interrupting your career or education. Our new STEP AHEAD vocational initiative is a practical assessment for young people after brain injury to assess the supports they need to get back to work or college.

“Often people after brain injury can look fine but may be experiencing problems which impact on their day to day lives. This can make it challenging to return to work or education and get back to the life they once knew. The difference is that now they may have difficulties with concentration, fatigue, memory or executive functioning like decision-making and planning. STEP AHEAD is here to help people understand what they’re capable of and provide practical strategies to cope with any difficulties after their brain injury.”

Led by our expert occupational therapists

Every STEP AHEAD participant is supported to develop a personal vocational plan to set and achieve goals relating to education, training and employment. A full assessment is carried out by senior occupational therapists focused on participants’ functional and work capacity to identify transferable skills for the workplace.

Funding support

Minister Regina Doherty from the Department Employment Affairs and Social Protection said: “We are delighted to support STEP AHEAD – one of 27 projects co-funded by my Department and the European Social Fund under the Ability Programme. The Ability Programme is an incredible resource which will support over 2,600 young people aged between 15 and 29 years over a three-year period. As I am committed to supporting people with a disability to participate more fully in society, I am naturally pleased today to support the STEP AHEAD initiative which is a perfect example of a project which delivers on this objective.”

Step Ahead in Cork and Dublin

STEP AHEAD is a national service and Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has two teams located in Dublin and Cork. Anyone wishing to take part must be aged between 18 and 29 years and have sustained a brain injury. For more details on referral criteria see:

Celebs back #StepAhead

Irish Rugby International Kevin McLaughlin said: “It’s important to support our young people with education and employment at any time. But after someone has come through the trauma of a brain injury, it is vital that they have access to the supports they need to rebuild their lives and chase their goals as much as any of us. I’m proud to support STEP AHEAD’s practical service so that young people after brain injury can say ‘Yes I can get back to work or college’.”

Author of ‘The Pursuit of Awesome’, Diana Bunici added: “I’m a big believer in everyone’s right to lead a meaningful life and to pursue their dreams. STEP AHEAD is a hugely positive initiative that will hopefully be a game-changer for young people after brain injury. One piece of advice that I’ve learned is to remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s when you grow. That’s when you get better at your job. Everyone’s journey is different and any bumps or hurdles along the way are a growing experience that will lead to future success.”

Inspirational stories after brain injury

Brain injury survivors Niamh Cahill and Stephen Shortall both know what it’s like to cope with challenges after a brain injury and the hard work to rebuild confidence to get back to work.

Niamh acquired a brain injury at just 19 years old after a life-threatening brain infection. She said: “I don’t think anyone would sit down and have a chat with me today and know I’ve had a brain injury. My injury was always invisible. I was so conscious of my speech for years after my brain injury and my confidence took a huge knock. I also struggled emotionally, and I suffered terribly with fatigue. I’d hit a wall and nothing would bring me back, only a long sleep. Simple things were overwhelming to me. The support I received from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland was invaluable to me. I returned to college and completed a degree and Masters. I haven’t looked back since.”

Meanwhile Stephen was 27 when he acquired a brain injury after a fall. He said: “Life is good now but I know that the support I received was essential. I was out of work for months after my brain injury. The most important thing to me at the time was to prove I was normal again. I found it hard to accept help and thought I didn’t need it. But I did and I now feel really lucky to have had it. My employer has been incredibly supportive giving me the time I needed to come back. In the first year or two, I couldn’t do five days a week. But now I’m back doing a full week – it’s easy to forget how far I have come. The new STEP AHEAD service is a great opportunity to grab your life back. It’s not easy, I still struggle with fatigue or my train of thought but having experts to tell you it’s okay makes an enormous difference to your confidence.”

For more details on referral criteria see:

Pictures taken by Mark Stedman.

Join our womens mini marathon team to raise vital funds for brain injury

Irene (left) is pictured with Roisin from our Wexford Women’s Group.

Imagine one minute you’re driving a car with friends and the next you’re waking up at the wheel to the sound of car horns blaring. This is exactly what happened to Irene when she was just 23 years old.

Irene thought she had fallen asleep at the wheel but in fact she had had a seizure. Diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, this was the first time in years and as an adult, that Irene had a seizure.

Out of the blue

Irene had lived a normal life with no sign that anything was wrong for most of her life. Then out of the blue she started experiencing black-outs and seizures.

One of the jolliest people you could hope to meet, Irene has learned to cope with her seizures and make changes to her life. One of the positive changes she has made, is taking part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon.

Inspired to help others with brain injury

Truly inspirational, Irene has not let overpowering fatigue get in the way. Twice, she has completed the 10k women’s mini marathon to help others who are living with a brain injury.

And this year, she hopes to inspire you to do the same on 2nd June. Register now!

You can make a difference too!

Irene said: “Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has helped me realise that I’m not alone. Now I have people who understand how I’m feeling. They understand that my brain has to work harder now than it used to, to do everyday things or even to concentrate on a conversation. They get me. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes to have people understand what you’re going through. By taking part in this year’s women’s mini marathon, you can help more brain injury survivors like me.”

Irene has been through it all. In her twenties, she learned the hard way that working and studying was just too much for her body – it brought on too many seizures. But Irene is not one to let things go without a fight. So she set work aside and went on to graduate as a mature student with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Limerick.

A real fighter

She said: “By the time I got to the end of my degree, I was wrecked. I was having so many seizures in the last year because I was under so much pressure. Now I know there’s a limit to what I can do but I’m making the most of it.”

A real fighter, Irene has come through life-threatening brain surgery and months of intense recovery. There’s no doubt her life is different after brain injury, but it’s far from over.

She said: “My memory is brutal because of the operation on the hippocampus area of the brain. And I’m a lot less confident than before. Depression was probably the main side effect. I also find background noise and conversation difficult and I’m not as good at multi-tasking anymore.”

Take each day as it comes

But Irene takes each day as it comes and is a keen member of our women’s group in the Wexford Clubhouse in Drinagh for the last five years. Ever the engineer, she feels very positive about the ability of the brain regrow cells.

She said: “Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has made such a big difference to me. I thought I was alone but now I am surrounded by others who understand. We can just be normal with each other. Even when I’m tired, I still come to the group because it’s my escape and I love being here. It makes a big difference to talk about issues because there’s always someone here who has gone through something similar. And I love the creative exploration and expression. It has really brought out my creative side.”

Rebuilding lives

Brain injuries can happen in the blink of an eye. That’s when you and your family need every support to rebuild your lives. At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland we provide personalised rehabilitation because every brain injury is unique.

Join our team!

Join our women’s mini marathon team today and help raise vital funds for brain injury rehabilitation. Email us today and we’ll pop your fundraising pack in the post!


Don’t forget to register with the event organisers at

The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon takes place on the June Bank Holiday weekend, on Sunday, 2nd June at 2.00pm. The race starts from Fitzwilliam Street Upper in Dublin City Centre.


“Peer support is really important when you have a brain injury.”

Sarah Kerr Wexford Clubhouse Acquired Brain Injury Ireland March 2019Sarah Kerr is the acting local services manager in our Wexford rehabilitation service. Our women’s group in Drinagh is one of our longest established services in the country. Here members meet every Wednesday to do everything from cookery to crafts; but most importantly, to connect.

Sarah has seen many women’s lives turned upside down after brain injury. Many had to leave college or a career or are struggling with childcare. Many women were left feeling lost or isolated.

Brain injury can affect your sense of identity

Sarah says: “You get a sense of worth from your employment or from your role within the family. So when you have a brain injury and you have to give up that role – whether you’re working in a shop or looking after your family – it affects your sense of identity.”

But the power of meeting people who understand exactly how you feel, cannot be underestimated. Talking about the magic of the women’s group in Wexford, Sarah said: “Here, the women can come into each other with concerns or issues and the other people in the group can say ‘yes, I’ve had that too’. It’s a really safe space for people to be themselves.”

A place to be yourself

The supportive environment of our Wexford clubhouse where our women’s group meets every week allows people to build their confidence. Whether it’s having the confidence to get out and about again or learning a new skill, our clubhouse is there to help them along.

Sarah added: “A lot of people come to our art classes. Most people never did art before their injury but now they find it is such a good outlet for them. They realise ‘God, this is something that I can do. I’m actually good at it’ and it takes them away from concentrating on deficits and negative thoughts like ‘I can’t do this’.”

Power of peer support

Over time, our women’s group members are supported to achieve their own goals, such as returning to work. But no matter what people’s personal ambitions are, Sarah believes there is huge power in sharing the journey.

Building confidence

Sara said: “People who have been through the same thing as you and have come out the other side, have found outlets for themselves that have given them the support they need. It’s given them confidence and it helps them to be more independent and maximise their abilities and feel positive about themselves.”

This article is taken from the latest issue of Irish Country Magazine, April issue 2019.


say the right thing tips on what not to say to a brain injury survivorBrain injury can be confusing to people who don’t have one. Often when we’re trying to be helpful, we say the wrong thing. Or as a carer, it is easy to say things out of frustration and tiredness. It happens all the time. This Brain Awareness Week 2019, we offer our top 7 tips on what not to say to brain injury survivors:


#1 You seem fine to me

The effects of brain injury are often hidden. A person can look fine on the outside but struggle on the inside with problems like memory, fatigue, concentration, mood. Too often we judge disability on what we can see. Acknowledging these difficulties helps a brain injury survivor feel validated and accepted.

#2 How many times do I have to repeat myself? Or I’ve got a terrible memory too!

We all forget things from time to time and it can be frustrating having to repeat yourself. But after a brain injury, it’s more than the usual forgetfulness, the memories may no longer stored. Avoid saying ‘I told you already’ and try practical tips like setting reminders or writing it down.

#3 Let me do that for you

Rebuilding independence and confidence is vital after brain injury. Your natural instinct may be to help when someone is struggling. Stepping in to complete a task is undermining and will prevent progress in rehabilitation. Try to stand back and offer words of encouragement and support.

#4 You’re lucky to be alive

You may think you’re encouraging positive thinking, but the reality is that not everyone feels this way after a brain injury. Some people may not feel very lucky at all. It’s important to allow the person to have their feeling. Depression, anxiety and negative thinking are common after a brain injury. Like anyone experiencing a trauma that changes their life, there is a lot to process and come to terms with. Encourage them to talk to a professional about how they’re feeling or to participate in peer support.

#5 You can’t be tired already!

Fatigue is a very common symptom after brain injury. It’s completely understandable. Tasks that someone did automatically before their injury, now require major effort and concentration. It’s exhausting. Fatigue can also go hand in hand with depression and apathy. Developing a routine with plenty of rest breaks is important to help brain injury survivors manage fatigue.

#6 Are you in a mood?

There’s nothing worse than being asked if you’re grumpy, when you’re feeling out of sorts. Irritability is common among many brain injury survivors who often feel frustrated with their injury or are suffering from fatigue. Who doesn’t get a bit grumpy when you’re tired? Working on personalised goals help hugely with motivation. Or talking with a psychologist or engaging in peer support after brain injury.

#7 Do you know how much I do for you?

Caring for someone after brain injury is not always easy. Psychologically many families feel bewilderment, guilt, frustration. Offloading to your loved one may add to their guilt about needing more help after their injury. Or quite simply, because of their injury, they may never understand and have no clue how much of your effort it takes to care for them. Your emotional health is very important. It’s good to unload your burden to a good friend or a counsellor.

To find out more about referrals to our services see here. All referrals must be made by a healthcare professional.




Studio shot of vanilla cupcakes with pink, yellow and blue frosting for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland's Bake for Brain Injury during Brain Awareness Week 2019On your marks, get set, bake! There’s a rush on flour and eggs all over Ireland as families and friends touched by brain injury get ready to raise some dough to support our life-changing work!.

Bake parties are set to sweep the nation

This year marks our seventh annual bake party fundraiser. All the monies raised from bake parties go to support our  rehabilitation and family support services right across the country. It’s all happening as part of National Brain Awareness Week, 11-17 March.

Organise your own bake party

It’s really simple – bake whatever you like then invite friends or family around to enjoy your tasty cakes in exchange for a donation to our charity! It’s a win-win for everyone. There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked cakes to make you feel a sense of satisfaction and it’s an excuse to catch up with people at home or in work.

Use your flour power!

Our Head of Fundraising Jonathan Power, said: “We’re looking for people to join in the fun and embrace the ‘flour power’ for our annual ‘Bake for Brain Injury’. Host a bake party or coffee morning between 11-17 March. Your support or donation will make a real difference to people who need our help after their lives are turned upside down after brain injury.”

Where the money goes

Monies raised will go to support our local services so we can provide more personalised rehabilitation programmes to more brain injury survivors. Every year in Ireland an estimated 19,000 people acquire a brain injury. Nobody ever thinks a brain injury will happen to them. But it happens to 52 people here every day. Thanks to the generous donations from events like this, we can help even more people get their lives back. So many people with brain injuries have problems that people can’t see. That’s why our rehabilitation services are so important. We help people manage difficulties with memory, fatigue, judgement and we support them in relearning everyday activities to increase their independence.

Let’s beat last year!

Last year more than 50 bake parties took place in homes and communities around Ireland raising more than €10,000 and this year with your help, we can beat it! To register your bake party and receive our fundraising pack visit

Visit one of our local bake parties

Our local Acquired Brain Injury Ireland teams are hosting bake party to raise funds and all are welcome:

4th March:

·       11am-1pm, Edgeworthstown Community Centre, Longford

6th March:

·       10.30am-12.30pm, Tullamore Parish Centre, Offaly

·       10am-4pm, Bridge Shopping Centre, Tullamore, Offaly

11th March:

·       12-2pm at Anvers, 69 Adelaide Road, Glenageary, Co Dublin

·       1-3pm at 153 Mobhi Road, Glasnevin

12th March:

·       In Cork at the Macroom Traders Market from 10am-4pm

·       11am-12.30pm at the Cranog HSE Resource Centre in Bree, Castleblayney in Co Monaghan

·       12pm-2pm at the Derrane centre in Roscommon

13th March:

·       10.30am at Tymon Bawn Community Centre, Firhouse Road West, Tallaght, Dublin

·       11.00am at Unit 4A, Block H, Centrepoint Business Park, Oak Road, Lucan, Co Dublin

·       11.30am at Parlickstown House, Ladyswell Road, Mulhuddart, Dublin

·       12-1.30pm at Milltown Secondary School in Kerry

·       12pm-2pm at Lisrath residential service, Ballymakenny Road in Drogheda, Co Louth

·       12-2pm at the Parish Centre in Castlebar in Co Mayo

·       12-3pm at the Acquired Brain Injury Ireland clubhouse behind the Applegreen Service Station on the Rosslare Road in Drinagh

14th March:

·       11am-2pm at Lucan Supervalu, Co Dublin

·       11am at Side by Side Clubhouse, Northumberland Hall, Northumberland Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin

·       12-3pm at 223 Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin

·       11am-2pm at Castleisland Resource Centre in Kerry

·       11am-1pm at 66 Ballinvoher on Father Russell Road, in Limerick

·       9.30am-12pm at the Acquired Brain Injury Ireland bookshop on the Main Street in Cashel, Co Tipperary

15th March:

·       2pm at 37 Hillview, Creggaun na Hilla in Clarecastle in Clare

·       10.30am-1pm, Portlaoise Parish Centre, Portlaoise, Laois

·       10am-4pm at AIB Bank in Sligo town

21st March:

·       In Waterford at Cheshire Waterford from 11-1pm

29th March:

·       10am-4pm at Bank of Ireland in Sligo

31st March:

·       10.30am-1pm, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland Teach Fáilte, Mountbolus, Offaly

If you’d like to know more contact Jonathan or Natasha on 01-2804164 or email


Hot off the presses!

We are delighted to tell you about our new STEP AHEAD vocational service for young people affected by brain injury, supported by Pobal’s Ability Programme. STEP AHEAD is a national service with two centres in Cork and Dublin. This practical programme is geared to help more brain injury survivors return to education, training or work. STEP AHEAD also provides essential brain injury information and education for employers, tutors and trainers.

Who can take part?

Our STEP AHEAD programme offers a vocational assessment and work-related support service free-of-charge to individuals with an acquired brain injury and who meet the following criteria:

·         Aged between 18 – 29 years old

·         Have sustained an acquired brain injury

·         In receipt of disability allowance or invalidity pension; or

·         In receipt of illness benefit for more than three months; or

·         Referred by a relevant organisation or service supporting young people with disabilities i.e. Primary Care Teams, HSE Disability Services, Residential or Day Services

Expert service

Led by a senior occupational therapist, our STEP AHEAD service will assess the individual’s work skills, knowledge and experience. The programme provides practical assistance for people with a brain injury who may be struggling to hold on to their existing job or trying to return to education, training, or employment. Two vocational facilitators will also support the development of a Personal Vocational Plan for each participant, outlining person-centred, vocational goals.

Thank you to our funders!

Pobal’s Ability Programme launched in June 2018 to provide supports to over 2,600 young people with disabilities. A great initiative, it is particularly designed to assist in the transition from school to further education, training and employment. The Ability Programme is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s new STEP AHEAD vocational assessment service would not be possible without this funding.

Who to contact:

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland STEP AHEAD Dublin

Call Emer Duffy, Senior Occupational Therapist: 086 603 7353 or email:

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland STEP AHEAD Cork

Call Sinead Stack, Senior Occupational Therapist: 086 603 4633 or email:


While our organisation welcomes the long-awaited launch by the HSE of a new national rehabilitation implementation plan, we cannot stress enough the need for immediate action. We call on the government to start with a focus on community rehabilitation. As many of you know, every year in Ireland an estimated 19,000 people acquire a brain injury caused by stroke, road traffic accidents, brain tumours, falls and assault. But too many of these cases don’t get the rehabilitation they need.

Ongoing, hidden crisis of brain injury

In our view, it is an ongoing hidden crisis that thousands of brain injury survivors are left without the necessary rehabilitation that could help them live more normal lives. Worse still, we are still seeing many young people stuck in hospitals, psychiatric wards or nursing homes after brain injury. This is not good enough.

New HSE plan announced today HSE neuro rehabilitation implementation plan

Today the HSE has announced a new implementation plan. And today, we would like to see the government prioritise investment in community rehabilitation because this will go some way to ensure people with brain injury can move from one service to another in a timely fashion and maximise their potential recovery.

Too many brain injury survivors left without rehabilitation

Our Research and Policy Manager Grainne McGettrick said: “Through our services we see the huge challenges people with brain injury and their families face every day. For these people, the worst has happened – their life is suddenly turned upside down after a stroke or car crash and they are fighting for their lives. But saving their life is just the beginning. For many brain injury survivors, they are left with nothing. We are witness to their difficulties in getting access to the rehabilitation services they need in order to recover and maximise their potential. Not to mention coping with the impact of not being able to work, family members suddenly having to become carers, experience financial stress and broken-down relationships.

“Rehabilitation services for people with brain injury in Ireland are seriously underdeveloped and under-resourced right across the pathway from hospital to home. Ireland is at the bottom of the European table. At a very basic level there are not enough rehab services for the level of demand and the piecemeal, patchy nature of the services has serious life-long consequences for the individual and their family. But positively, where rehabilitation services are provided, we can see how effective they are.”

The benefits of neuro-rehabilitation include:

–         Realising an individual’s potential and improved patient outcomes

–         Significant reduction in care giver burden

–         Lessening of societal costs

–         Lessening unnecessary dependency on health services

Need to fill the gaps in services

Ms McGettrick continued: “The HSE’s new implementation plan for neuro-rehabilitation is vital to improve and fill the gaps that are faced by thousands of families in Ireland in need of rehabilitation and support after brain injury. We very much support all efforts towards a more integrated pathway for brain injury survivors which will in turn, not only benefit individuals in their recovery but it will also reduce delays in discharge and free up hospital beds. However, we now need to move to action and commence implementation. We want leadership from the Department of Health and our politicians.”

How the HSE plan will work

Under the new implementation plan, the HSE approach proposes a national framework of acute, inpatient and specialist community services through:

–          Clear governance structures with identifiable leadership and accountability

–          Development of local implementation teams in local HSE areas

–          Development of neuro-rehabilitation services into a Managed Clinical Rehabilitation Network (MCRN) model

The HSE’s national neuro-rehabilitation implementation plan (2019-2021) also recognises that continued investment in these services will need to be prioritised beyond the 3-year period.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is the country’s leading provider of community rehabilitation for those of working age (18-65 years) living with and recovering from an acquired brain injury. At any one time, the national not-for-profit organisation delivers dedicated individual rehabilitation and support to 1,100 brain injury survivors and their families, to rebuild their lives.

For more information see our policy briefing here.



Don’t miss THE Valentine’s event of the season featuring our sensational comedy host Malachy Murray. It’s happening this Saturday 16 Feb in the heart of the country in the Tullamore Court Hotel. Tickets are just a click away !

To give you a taste of what you don’t want to miss – check out the latest hilarious video footage from Malachy Murray, played by FM104’s Terry Fahy, one of Ireland’s favourite impersonators…



Malachy Murray played by FM104's Terry Fahy is to host Acquired Brain Injury Ireland's Valentine's Ball in Tullamore on 16 February 2019Love is in the air in Tull-Amore as roving presenter Malachy Murray (played by local native and FM104’s Terry Fahy) gets ready to don his cravat as Master of Ceremonies at our second annual black tie Valentine’s Ball.

Tipped as the romantic event of the season, we are urging people in the midlands to avoid disappointment and order tickets online today! You don’t want to miss the ‘chance of a glance’ from the smooth-talking, debonair host Malachy Murray.

If you’re in Offaly, you can also get your hands on tickets at Galvin Tullamore, Sally West, the Wooden Hanger or from the team in our Mountbolus centre. Our black-tie ball takes place on Saturday 16 February in the Tullamore Court Hotel to raise vital funds for more neuro-rehabilitation services for brain injury survivors.

Rekindling romance in the midlands

We have a great night in store for our guests and highlights will include a comedy sketch from Malachy Murray, music from The Secrets and guests will also hear from real life brain injury survivor Niamh Cahill from Portlaoise.

Malachy said: “When people ask me what’s more important – food or love. I don’t usually answer because I’m eating. But this Valentine’s Ball in aid of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has it all – fine food, love, music and with my natural charms on display, you’re sure to be smitten with at least one person on the night. I’ll also be showing what happened when I ventured onto the mean streets of Offaly, a celebrity chef will teach you how to cook the ultimate aphrodisiac and there’s a special address from the President himself, plus much, much more!”

Why do we need to raise money for more services?

Well, the reality is that acquired brain injury is something of a hidden phenomenon. A lot of people don’t realise that as many as 19,000 brain injuries happen in Ireland every year. What’s worse is that brain injuries often happen suddenly, without warning from causes like stroke, road traffic accidents, falls and assaults. That’s 53 people every day – men and women of all ages – acquiring a brain injury that can affect their lives and those of their family for months and years after the initial injury.

Rebuilding lives in the midlands

In Offaly, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s neuro-rehabilitation service based in Mountbolus is working to rebuild the lives of more than 160 brain injury survivors across the midlands in Offaly, Laois, Longford and Westmeath on an ongoing basis.

Our Local Services Manager, Martin Nunan, in Mountbolus said: “We believe every brain injury is unique and we tailor rehabilitation plans for all our brain injury survivors. Ultimately our goal is that our clients won’t need us anymore. By joining our Valentine’s Ball, our guests will not only enjoy an incredible experience, but every donation will help make life better for people with brain injury right here in the midlands and around the country.”

Hurry – get your tickets now!

So hurry up and get your tickets! You don’t want to miss the Valentine’s Ball of the year! Tickets are priced at €60. Order online or call Natasha Quinn in our head office on 01-2804164 to order by phone. If you’re near our centre in Mountbolus why not swing by to collect tickets in person! We look forward to welcoming you to the Tullamore Court Hotel on 16th February 2019 for the black tie drinks reception at 6.30pm.

A ‘tux’ of class

Gentlemen – if you haven’t organised a tuxedo already, fret not because Galvin Tullamore will sort you out. For every €50 tuxedo hired, they will donate €15 to our charity!

Note: Photographs and video will be taken at this event.