New Rotunda master Sean Daly will make it ‘maternity hospital of choice’, staff told

Board delighted with ‘visionary, highly qualified candidate’, says current master

Prof Sean Daly. Photograph: Alan Betson

The appointment of Prof Sean Daly as next master of the Rotunda Hospital will reinforce its position as "the maternity hospital of choice", staff have been told.

Prof Daly, a former master of the Coombe hospital, was selected as master designate by an interview panel last Friday, ahead of two other internal candidates.

The Rotunda is Ireland’s busiest maternity hospital, with about 9,000 births a year, and the world’s oldest; it was founded in 1745.

The decision was communicated to staff by current master, Prof Fergal Malone, on behalf of the chairman of the board of governors, Prof Tom Matthews.


Prof Malone said the board was absolutely delighted the interview panel had identified such as "strong, visionary and highly qualified candidate". Prof Daly had the "skills, energy and passion to complete the very many services improvements already under way" and would reinforce the Rotunda's position as "the maternity hospital of choice" in Ireland.

Prof Daly qualified from Trinity College Dublin in 1988 and trained in obstetrics and gynaecology in Ireland.

He completed a fellowship in maternal foetal medicine in Philadelphia and practised as a consultant there before returning home to take up the post of master in the Coombe in 1999. Following his seven-year term as master he became head of maternal foetal medicine in the Coombe. In 2005 he was appointed to the teaching staff of Trinity College Dublin as a full clinical professor.

Move from Coombe

He started and ran high-risk pregnancy services for multiple births and the diagnosis and management of foetal congenital heart disease, and also led the diabetic service in the Coombe.

He moved from the Coombe to the Rotunda last year when he was given responsibility for maternity services in Cavan and Drogheda hospitals and became a consultant in maternal foetal medicine.

Last year a report found the master of the Coombe, Prof Michael O’Connell, allowed a consultant take leftover doses home to administer to family members at a time when vaccines were available only for medical staff.

The doctor is identified in the report only as "Consultant B" but is understood to be Dr Carmen Regan, an obstetrician at the hospital and the wife of Prof Daly.

In addition to the public hospital, the Rotunda operates a private maternity clinic on its city centre campus, where consultants, including the three candidates for master, also work.

Asked about the process followed for the appointment, a spokesman for the Rotunda said: “The term for all masters is seven years. The term for the current master will conclude on December 31st, 2022. A recruitment process has been completed and a formal announcement will be made once the nominee has been formally ratified by the Rotunda Hospital board.”

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.