Technical Working Group Members
John Mee - Teagasc, Moorepark (Chairperson)
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.
David Graham - Deputy CEO and Programme Manager Biosecure Diseases
David Graham is the AHI Deputy CEO and Programme Manager for Biosecure Diseases including the BVD programme. He qualified from UCD as a Veterinary Surgeon in 1988, and after working as a house surgeon at the Veterinary School in Dublin he moved back to Northern Ireland where he spent several years in mixed large animal practice. In 1992 David joined the Stormont laboratories of the Veterinary Sciences division of the Science Service (now the Agrifood and Biosciences Institute) of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development where he has worked in several branches. During his time there he gained extensive experience in the diagnosis and control of a wide range of viral and bacterial diseases, including bovine viral diarrhoea (BVDV), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), Johne's disease and leptospirosis. He received his PhD in 1998 on improved methods for diagnosing bovine respiratory disease from Queen’s University Belfast and in 2007 he established, and has subsequently led a cattle health scheme offering monitoring, eradication and accreditation programmes for BVD, IBR, Johnes and leptospirosis. David joined AHI in October 2010 and holds the position of Programme Manager for Biosecure Diseases where his role is to lead and manage a number of AHI projects relevant to the non-regulated biosecure diseases which have been prioritised for action by AHI (BVD, IBR). He is actively involved in the Johne's Disease control programme. Contact David by email here.
Bernard Eivers - CEO, National Cattle Breeding Centre
Bernard is originally from Ballivor in Co. Meath, and is currently based in Meath as the CEO of the National Cattle Breeding Centre. He graduated in Veterinary Medicine from Trinity College Dublin in 1981, and received a M. Appl. Sc in Food Science in 1992. He worked in large animal practice from 1981 to 1992. He began work in the Artificial Insemination sector in 1992 when he joined the then Dublin District Milkboard. Subsequently he joined Progressive Genetics in 1995. In 2005 the two largest cattle breeding programmes in Ireland combined to form the National Cattle Breeding Centre which he has worked for since it commenced. Bernard is currently the CEO of the National Cattle Breeding Centre, in addition to being the Veterinary Officer for the centre. Bernard states that “NCBC has been a supporter of AHI since it's formation as we believe delivery of a national strategy to reduce/eliminate key disease will deliver benefits by way of extra genetic gain in addition to the benefits of healthier herds. As the Veterinary Officer for NCBC I am constantly working to ensure all our bulls are healthy and free from disease. Annually we screen large numbers of bulls and herds and find that we are excluded from accessing some excellent genetic potential due to evidence of infection. We are faced with balancing genetic gain on one hand and biosecurity on the other”.
Bosco Cowley - Technical Manager MSD Animal Health
Bosco is originally from Naas, Co. Kildare and is currently based there. He is currently the Technical Manager for Intervet/Schering Plough Animal Health. He has a MVB degree from UCD and a MRCVS. In 2011 he completed a MVM in “Aspects of Bovine Herpesvirus 1 and Bovine Virus Diarrhoea Virus infection in beef and dairy herds in the Republic of Ireland”. He worked for two and a half years in general veterinary practice before joining Intervet Ireland Ltd. as technical advisor. Recently he has been involved in a nationwide seroprevalence study on BVD and IBR which will yield interesting results on these diseases through peer reviewed publications. Bosco is happy to be involved with AHI because he has been trained extensively on disease management and this experience has been further enhanced with 15 years technical support for veterinary practices throughout Ireland.
Luke O’Grady - Lecturer Herd and Veterinary Public Health, UCD
Luke is originally from Glasgow in Scotland. He graduated from Glasgow Veterinary School in 2003 (BVMS) and after a short period in general practice he undertook an internship within the large animal clinical studies department at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in University College Dublin. In 2005 he then embarked on a European College of Bovine Health Management residency-training programme. In 2007 he took up his current role as a lecturer in Population Medicine within the unit of Herd and Veterinary Public Health at UCD. In 2008, he attained further specialist qualifications by receiving a diploma from the European College in Bovine Health Management. Luke has an interest in all aspects of herd health and his research areas include the creation and delivery of dairy herd health management systems, disease investigation strategies, simulation modelling, animal health economics and veterinary education. He is currently a member of several Animal Health Ireland technical working groups working to develop control programmes for infectious diseases and mastitis.
Michael Sexton - Veterinary Practitioner
Michael grew up on a dairy farm near Bandon in Co. Cork, where he now breeds Limousin cattle in his “spare” time. After qualifying in 1992 from UCD, Michael returned to Cork, where he has been in practice ever since, apart for a few months in mixed practice in the Hunter valley, NSW, Australia. He is a partner in the Riverview Veterinary Group, where he works with ten other colleagues in mixed dairy/small animal practice and has a special interest in bovine infectious diseases. He was until recently, Chairman, director and technical director of an independent animal health laboratory (AHLI Ltd) and helped it gain the internationally recognised ISO17025 accreditation standard for BVD and Johne’s testing. Michael was a former president of Veterinary Ireland, the representative body for vets in Ireland. He also sits on the Advisory Committee of the Veterinary Defence Society which provides indemnity cover for veterinary surgeons in practice.
Stephen Conroy - Manager, Tully Bull Performance Centre, Kildare
Stephen Conroy is a committee member on the IBR and Bio-security technical working groups. He is originally from a large suckler beef (180 cows) and sheep (450 ewes) farm in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath and still plays an active role in the running of the farm. Stephen Conroy is a committee member on the IBR and Bio-security technical working groups. He is originally from a large suckler beef (180 cows) and sheep (450 ewes) farm in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath and still plays an active role in the running of the farm. He qualified with a BAgSc (Hons) (Animal and Crop Production) in 2005 from UCD and completed a PhD in “The relationship of live animal muscular and skeletal scores, ultrasound measurements and carcass classification scores with carcass composition and value”. Upon completion of his PhD he went to work for the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation where he is currently the manager of the G€N€ IR€LAND Beef breeding programme and Tully performance test centre, located in Kildare Town, Co. Kildare. One of his main roles is to help maximise genetic gain in beef through the G€N€ IR€LAND programme. This involves working closely with various Industry partners. One of the main objectives of the G€N€ IR€LAND program is to identify and progeny test the best young maternal and terminal beef bulls each year across all the beef breeds. “Herd health plays an important role in the selection of these young bulls as only bulls from high health status herds are selected”.
Richard Fallon - Teagasc (Retired)
Richard is originally from Westmeath and is now based in Dublin. His qualifications include a BAgrSc and a PhD (each from University College Dublin) on “The Effect of Feeding and Management systems on Calf Performance”. Richard has recently retired from Teagasc, Beef Research Centre, Grange after 38 years of applied beef production research. Research areas included development of calf feeding and management systems, beef from young bulls, electronic animal identification and tractability, effect of farming system and size, herd trace mineral status on incidence of bovine tuberculosis, purchase and management systems to improve animal health. A deep understanding of Johnes disease control and farming practices including organic ruminant meat, milk and wool production. Richard “believes that my input to AHI will contribute to a general awareness that enhanced animal health is the common goal of producers, manufacturers and all related participants”.
Pat Kirwan - Veterinary Practitioner
Pat is originally from a sheep , suckler and trout farm in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. He has been living in Wicklow town since 1991. He qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon from UCD in 1989 and gained a certificate in Pig Medicine from Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2001 . Pat is currently practising veterinary medicine in the pig & poultry sectors as a specialist advisor. He is also the current President of Veterinary Ireland, the representative organisation for Vets in Ireland. He has practised in cattle, sheep, small animal, equine, state and meat industries throughout his veterinary career. Pat is “involved with Animal Health Ireland because he has seen the benefits from improved health in terms of both production and animal welfare in the pig & poultry industries and would like to see this message spread to the cattle industry. In this current harsh economic climate it is imperative that we increase agricultural production. One of the essential elements to this is an improvement in the overall health of the national herd, the ultimate aim being to use this newly improved health status as a unique selling point for the Irish agricultural industry”.
John Moriarty - CVRL, DAFM
John is originally from Tralee, Co.Kerry. He is a Senior Research Officer with the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Backweston. He graduated from UCD Veterinary School (MVB) in 1989 and attained a diploma in Toxicology from Trinity College and membership of the National and European Register of Toxicologists. After nine years in general practice, he spent twelve years in the Regional Veterinary laboratory Service in diagnostics and disease investigation. He is currently tasked with development of Biosecurity and the laboratory infrastructure for response to exotic disease outbreak. Johns main interests are Diagnostics, Disease investigation, Toxicology and Biosecurity. He has recently joined Animal Health Ireland to assist the Biosecurity Technical Working Group.
Eoin Ryan – CVRL, DARM -
After completing his veterinary studies in UCD in 2002, Eoin worked in mixed practice in Co. Meath, then in 2004 moved to the Pirbright Institute, UK, where he did a PhD on foot-and-mouth disease with the Royal Veterinary College. In Pirbright, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher and then returned to Ireland at the end of 2007 to work in Pathology Division in the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory. Eoin obtained an MSc in veterinary epidemiology and public health with the Royal Veterinary College and in 2012 moved to Rome, where he worked for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation on the control of foot-and-mouth disease. Currently, Eoin works in Virology Division in the Central Veterinary Research Institute, Backweston.