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News / June 29, 2009

President McAleese focuses on special care dentistry

by Guy Hiscott

The President, Mary McAleese, patron of the Irish Society for Disability and Oral Health, addressed delegates at the Society’s annual conference on Friday 26 June 2009.

President McAleese welcomed delegates to the conference, in particular members of the British Society for Disability and Oral Health, whose Executive had held a joint meeting with the committee of its Irish counterpart the day before. This is the first time the Societies have come together in a joint initiative and it is hoped that this will be the first of many such collaborative ventures.

The opening theme of the conference was the future of special care dentistry, both for patients and those who provide their dental care in Ireland.

Later in the day speakers from both the UK and Ireland focused on access to care for marginalised groups and the different types of dental treatment that are available to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

The President had the opportunity to meet with speakers and guests of the conference, including: Mr Chris Fitzgerald from the Department of Health and Children; Karen Kearns, president of the Irish Dental Nurses Association; Patricia Dickson, president of the Irish Dental Hygienists Association; Rosarii Mc Cafferty, president of the Irish Dental Association’s Public Dental Services Group; Navdeep Kumar, president of British Society for Disability and Oral Health; Michael Donaldson, consultant for dental public health, NI; David O’Flynn, locum registrar from the Dental Council; and Deirdre Sadlier of the Dental Health Foundation.

The Irish Society for Disability and Oral Health has as its aim the advancement of the oral health of disabled people of all ages by promoting links with organisations representing disabled people, consulting with disability groups to identify their needs and demands, and studying the barriers relating to the provision of oral healthcare for disabled people.

Additionally, the Society serves to encourage undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and training of the dental team in the subject of oral healthcare for people with disabilities, as well as to encourage research in the field of oral health for disabled individuals.

For further information about the Society, please visit