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New IMO president promises to 'learn from mistakes of past'

Dr Matt Sadlier was officially installed in the top post during the organisation’s AGM in Killarney this evening.

Dr Sadlier and Dr McKeown
Dr Sadlier and Dr McKeown
Image: IMO via Twitter

THE NEW PRESIDENT of the Irish Medical Organisation has told members of the representative body that he will not defend the mistakes of the past but said he is “determined to learn from them so they cannot happen again”.

Dr Matt Sadlier took office from Dr Paul McKeown at the organisation’s annual conference in Kerry this evening.

The 37-year-old consultant adult psychiatrist, who works in Connolly Hospital and the Mater in Dublin, said he was “humbled and honoured” to assume the role.

In his opening address, he acknowledged the controversy faced by the IMO in recent months, after it emerged former CEO was departing with a multi-million-euro pension. Following negotiations, the package’s worth was reduced from a possible €25 million liability to €9.7 million.

Earlier today, the new president said he will put on hold his stipend pending an internal governance review. Dr Sadlier told members that he was previously unaware of the payment which RTÉ News revealed to be 25 per cent of the former CEO’s salary.

“The right course of action now is to allow the two review exercises to run their course and reach their conclusions and I intend to respect that process,” Dr Sadlier told the audience at the hotel auditorium.

He said his focus in the coming months would be to seek a renewal of the IMO through a process of increased engagement with members and greater transparency about its operations.

“The lesson of the last few months has been the need to renew and rebuild the organisation in a way that engages much more dynamically with members and I have no doubt that the leadership of the organisation is committed to this goal.

“This has been a difficult period but I want to ensure that we use it as a platform from which to renew the organisation and I know that our members want the same.”

Dr Sadlier also said that the industrial relations agenda would assume an increased importance in the coming year. “Every doctor in Ireland and every patient in Ireland has suffered from the continuing pressure on budgets in the Irish health services.

“Our fear is that we are reaching a point where the damage to the health services will become irreversible and we will continue to highlight the crisis that is emerging and the consequences for our members and, more importantly, for patients as a result of this crisis.”

Doctors attending the conference said they will support a ‘No’ campaign and fight against proposals cited in the new public service agreement. Although it said industrial action is a last resort, the IMO conceded it was an option. It also said that even if there is an aggregate Yes vote by the Public Services Committee of Congress on 17 April, it will not regard it as a collective agreement.

Read: Doctors issued new guidelines for using social media

More: IMO votes unamimously against Croke Park II

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