New master of the Coombe will be Dr Michael O’Connell

Masters of all three Dublin maternity hospitals will soon be men following latest appointment

The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital has appointed Dr Michael O’Connell to be its next master.

Dr O’Connell, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the hospital, begins a seven-year term in January 2020.

His appointment means that from next year men will once again hold the masterships of all three Dublin maternity hospitals.

Dr O'Connell succeeds Dr Sharon Sheehan, who was appointed in 2013. The master of the National Maternity Hospital, Prof Shane Higgins, took over from Dr Rhona Mahony at the start of this year and is also serving a seven-year term.


The Coombe hospital will celebrate its bicentenary in 2026 during Dr O’Connell’s term. His appointment as master-elect was announced on Tuesday by the board of guardians and directors of the hospital.

Board chairman John Gleeson said Dr O'Connell had demonstrated his suitability for the role, with extensive clinical and leadership experience.

Trained in University College Cork, Dr O'Connell completed specialist training in both the UK and Ireland.

He is internationally recognised for his work in India and the Middle East, and has published widely in areas such as maternal disease in pregnancy, labour and delivery and preterm labour.

He is currently clinical director in charge of integrating the Coombe with the maternity unit of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times