Technical Working Group Members
Catherine McAloon - Assistant Professor, UCD (Chairperson)
Catherine McAloon qualified in 2011 from UCD and worked in a mixed practice in Ireland for 3 years before returning to UCD to undertake a residency programme in the Herd Health Department of the School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2017, Catherine successfully passed her European Board examinations and is a European Specialist in Bovine Health Management. She is also a RCVS recognised specialist in cattle health and production. Catherine currently is working as an Assistant Professor in the Herd Health and Animal Husbandry section of UCD.
Bernadette Earley - Principal Research Officer, Teagasc Grange
Bernadette Earley is originally from Co. Roscommon and is now based at the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Grange, Co. Meath working as a Principal Research Officer in the Animal and Bioscience Research Department of Teagasc. She holds an honorary appointment as an Adjunct Lecturer & Assistant Professor in University College Dublin (UCD) School of Veterinary. She qualified with a B.Sc. (Biochemistry), a H.Dip. (Education). and a Ph.D. (Pharmacology) from University College Galway. Bernadette has been working with Teagasc since 1995. In her current role she undertakes research to produce scientifically sound, objective data, which will promote Irish production systems by highlighting the welfare advantages experienced by animals in our systems and thus providing high quality agricultural products and services to consumers. Special research interests include the integration of physiological, immunological and behavioural techniques to investigate animal welfare issues, primarily those related to husbandry management practices (disbudding, castration, weaning, housing and transport) in cattle. Bernadette has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific publications. She is the Teagasc representative on the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC) Irish Government, Department of Agriculture, and has worked with the OIE on the development of the “International beef guidelines for the Terrestrial Animal Health Code”.
Charles Chavasse - Area Veterinary Manager, Liverstock Team, Zoetis
Charles Chavasse is from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, and he currently works with Zoetis as an Area Veterinary Manager. He qualified from Glasgow University Veterinary College in 1985. After graduation he worked for thirteen years in mixed practices in the North of Scotland, North Wales and Northern Ireland with a brief interlude leading expeditions through Africa. In 1998 he returned to Dungarvan, and was a partner in a four person practice focusing on farm practice, principally dairy, but with an expanding companion animal practice. His main interests are mastitis control and peventative medicine. In March 2010 he joined Pfizer Animal Health as an Area Veterinary Manager providing technical back up on Pfizer products and their practical use in disease prevention and control, to veterinary practitioners and farmers. Charles has always had an interest in herd health and feels that AHI can now “help develop and promote practices that will reduce disease in Irish herds and increase production and sustainability”.
Emer Kennedy - Teagasc, Moorepark
Emer is originally from a dairy and beef farm in Co. Kilkenny and is currently working and living in Fermoy, Co. Cork where she oversees the calf rearing and replacement heifer research at the Teagasc, Moorepark Research Centre. She qualified from UCD with a BAgSc in 2003. She then went to Teagasc Moorepark to undertake a PhD in grassland management entitled ‘Increasing the proportion of grazed grass in the diet of the spring calving dairy cow in early lactation - the effects on milk production performance, grass dry matter intake and subsequent sward characteristics’ which was completed in 2006. Since finishing her PhD she has been working as a researcher in the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork in grazing management and replacement heifer rearing. In 2008, Emer was given direct responsibility for the calf rearing and replacement heifer research undertaken at Moorepark. Emer feels that by” being involved with AHI we have an opportunity to collate and deliver national and international best science and practice”.
Ian Hogan - DAFM, Veterinary Laboratory Services
Ian is originally from Clare. He works in the Limerick Regional Veterinary Laboratory. He qualified as a MVB from UCD in 1995, and spent eleven years in private practice dealing with both large and small animals. Ian’s current role in the Limerick RVL comprises of pathological examinations, diagnostic support and disease surveillance. He is happy to be involved with AHI because he sees it as a “way for individuals, involved in the health of farm animals in Ireland to cooperate across the industry”.
John Gilmore - Veterinary Practitioner
John is originally from a farming background in Co. Roscommon, where he now has his own veterinary practise. He qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon in 1997 from UCD and in 2001 he qualified with a MSc in Risk Management from DIT. Initially after graduation he worked in dairy practice in Kerry, before setting up his own practice in Elphin Co. Roscommon in 1998. He has a particular interest in preventative medicine on cattle and sheep farms. John believes “that AHI is a very positive initiative in the Irish livestock industry, as improvements in animal health will lead to increased marketability of Irish produce and improve overall profitability on Irish farms”.
John Mee - Teagasc, Moorepark
John is originally from a farm in Co. Roscommon and now lives in Fermoy, Co. Cork where he works with Teagasc in the Moorepark Research Centre. He graduated from UCD with an MVB and a PhD in Veterinary Medicine, and is a Veterinary Council of Ireland accredited Veterinary Practitioner and a European College Specialist in bovine health. He has over 25 years’ experience in leading dairy and beef, cow and calf, health, welfare and reproduction research programmes. John has worked in research institutes, universities, the Department of Agriculture and in private veterinary practice in Ireland, New Zealand and in Australia. His current research interests include dairy cow and calf herd health and fertility and beef herd health. His research work has been published in over 75 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. He also reviews for over 20 leading international bioscience journals and serves on the editorial boards of five scientific journals, including the Irish Veterinary Journal BioMed Central (Deputy Editor). John is a member of five Technical Working Groups with AHI and is happy to be involved with the work of AHI because he firmly subscribes to the principle of an industry-led, national approach to improving animal health in Ireland.
Liam Gannon - Business Manager, Volac Ireland
Liam is based in Carlow, and is currently a Business Manager for Volac Ireland. He graduated with a degree in Agricultural Science from UCD and an M.B.A. from W.I.T. His current role with Volac Ireland is as a Business Manager for the South East of Ireland. Volac’s core business is the manufacture of calf milk replacers and animal health products. This activity brings Liam directly into contact with farmers and animal husbandry and health issues on a daily basis. His main areas of interest are animal welfare and calf rearing systems. Liam regards “the work of AHI as an integral part of achieving the goals of generating value-added exports and sustainable farm enterprises for the future given the potential of the Agricultural sector as set out in the Food Harvest 2020”. He feels that “identifying major animal health issues both current and emerging which are of concern to farmers and providing best practice through available scientific research to address these challenges in a user friendly format is a key role for AHI”.
Muireann Conneely - Dairy Cattle Welfare Scientist
Muireann is originally from Co. Galway and is currently working as a Dairy Cattle Welfare Scientist at the Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork. She graduated with a degree in Veterinary Medicine from University College Dublin in 2005 and spent five years working in mixed practices in Kilkenny and Galway. She then commenced a PhD at Teagasc in the area of calf health, entitled “Strategies to improve calf health: Colostrum management and quality”, which she completed in 2014. This PhD project was created to provide knowledge needed to address the high calf mortality rate which exists currently in Ireland. Following completion of her PhD, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where her work involved investigating the effects of lung lesions in dairy cows, detected using ultrasonography, on their milk production and reproductive performance. She now works as a researcher in the area of dairy cow welfare and lameness at Teagasc Moorepark. Muireann is very happy to work with AHI. She feels that improving calf health is critical to the future success of the Irish dairy industry and finds it highly rewarding to be part of a collaborative effort to do so.
Christine Cummins – Technical Manager, Bonanza Calf Nutrition -
Christine is originally from a mixed farm in Co. Tipperary and is now based in Cork where she is working as a Technical Manager for Bonanza Calf Nutrition, a role she took up in January 2016. In her role as Technical Manager, Christine works directly with farmers all over Ireland which she feels is an excellent way to keep up to date with the important issues farmers face each spring rearing calves. It also identifies and allows you focus on key issues as they present on farm during this important time of the year. Having completed an Undergraduate degree in Animal Science – Equine in 2012, later that year she commenced her PhD at Teagasc Moorepark under the guidance of Emer Kennedy and Dr Ingrid Lorenz. Her PhD focussed on calf rearing where she investigated pre-weaning management practices on Irish dairy farms and focussed on colostrum management. Christine firmly believes that one must prioritise all aspects of calf rearing. Good colostrum management is key but if you fail to provide adequate feed and housing thereafter you will not succeed in having the healthiest possible calves. Attention to detail is key.
Mark Little - Technical Manager, Trouw Nutrition Ireland
Mark is originally from a dairy and beef farm in County Fermanagh and is now living near Hillsborough, County Down and works for Trouw Nutrition Ireland. Mark qualified from UCD Veterinary College in 2002 and spent 10 years in large animal practice in County Tyrone and Armagh. During this time he focused on herd health investigations and also completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Dairy Herd Health from UCD. He then worked for Zoetis as Area Veterinary Manager for Northern Ireland before moving to Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Hillsborough, where he completed a PhD with Queens University Belfast, on the nutritional impacts on immunity in the transition dairy cow. In November 2016, Mark joined Trouw Nutrition Ireland as Technical Manager where he works with colleagues and customers giving health and nutritional advice. Mark feels that calf health is critical to achieving and maintaining a productive, healthy and profitable herd.
Michelle McGrath - Assistant CellCheck Programme Manager
Michelle grew up on a dairy farm in East Cork and has been directly involved in farming from a young age which led her to complete a Degree in Agricultural Science at UCD in 1999. Following on from this she completed a Master’s Degree in Bovine Reproduction with Teagasc at Moorepark Research Centre in 2001. After a brief spell in industry she returned to UCD to complete a Degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2008. For the past 12 years she has worked predominantly in mixed practice in Ireland where she further enhanced her interest in herd health on dairy farms. She particularly enjoyed working with the farmers to effectively manage infectious diseases in their herds through improved diagnostics, education and targeted therapies. Michelle is heavily involved in showing and breeding Holstein Friesian cattle at club and national level and uses this opportunity to promote animal health and welfare. Furthering her interest in the Agricultural and Food industries, she is currently undertaking a Diploma in Food Production at UCC. Contact Michelle by email here