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Jim Barrett

Jim BarrettJim is the third eldest born into a large family of five brothers and five sisters in a small town called Baltinglass in Co. Wicklow in December 1950. He contacted Polio at around 3 years of age.

Over the next 10-12 years he spent a great deal of time in and out of several hospitals, undergoing numerous experimental operations, some thankfully he says were of some assistance.

Jim’s national education was extremely limited, not unlike most people who contacted polio in or around that period. He eventually attended secondary education in Baltinglass Technical College and for a period Bolton Street College in Dublin and trained as a structural engineering technician. Jim is married to Marie the love of his life who he met in a dance hall in Dublin they have 2 sons and a daughter. Their first grandchild Samuel is 4 year old in July 2013. Jim and Marie live in Kilkenny home of the hurlers.

In 1981 Jim was chosen from candidates from around the country to represent Ireland in architectural drawing in the first Abilympics which was held in Tokyo Japan. The aim and aspiration of this international exhibition was to show particularly to the so called able bodied people the ABILITY of people with disabilities rather than their individual disability.

He has worked in several consulting engineering firms in excess of forty years. His last employment was as office manager with a former colleague who had started his own small consulting engineering practice in Waterford where he spent approximately 20 fantastic years with some great colleagues and indeed very good friends before his retirement in December 2008. He was involved in numerous projects in Dublin such as the Bewley’s hotels group

He is enjoying his retirement looking after the weeds in his garden enjoying sports and social interests with his family. Jim was recently appointed chair of the Social Support Committee

Jim Barrett, Upper Drumdowney, Snowhill, Co. Waterford.
Tel :051 832792
Mobile: 087 2311335

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Joan Bradley

Photo of Joan BradleyJoan now lives in Dublin city centre. She is a native of Laois and a polio survivor who contracted the virus at the age of four years. She spent some time in Harcourt Childrens' and Dr. Steevens' Hospitals. She attained high standard of physical ability not alone due to determination on her part but also drawing on the dedication of her mother and the acceptance by the rest of the family of her disability.

She started school at nine years of age and went on to qualify as a radiographer and worked in this field for some years.  This proved too strenuous as she experienced the onset of the late effects of polio and she worked for many years as a receptionist/telephonist. She has coped with a growing loss of ability over a number of years and had to take early retirement.

Joan is very well known to all the members in whom she takes a personal caring interest and provides a contact service for them outside office hours.  She has been for many years the chair of the Allocation Committee and continues to work actively on the Ethics and Benefits Committee.  She represents the Group at many disability fora and is a Disability Federation of Ireland representative not alone for the Post Polio Support Group but also on behalf of other groups. 

She swims, enjoys reading, creative writing and the study of nature. She may be contacted through our office or by E-mail:

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Jim Costello

Jim Costello, a native of Dublin, contracted acute respiratory poliomyelitis in 1958 at the age of 15 while in secondary school. He is paralysed in the upper body, wears a spinal brace, has no use of his arms, and has severe breathing restriction. As a youth he spent three years in Hospital, beginning in Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin, and then in the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, England. On his return to Ireland he spent a number of years attending the Central Remedial Clinic, Dublin, receiving rehabilitation treatment. He worked in the family retail clothing business for ten years and, after its closure in the early 1970s, he worked privately in a number of business ventures. In the late Eighties, he decided to retire from business for health reasons, mainly due to numerous bouts of respiratory infection.

Presently, Jim usually lives at home at the weekends where he is looked after by his partner Delia. For the rest of the week, he lives in Cherry Orchard Hospital, Dublin.  Jim requires a medical ventilator 16/18 hours daily.  He still uses an "Iron Lung Ventilator" when required, and it's the only one in use in Ireland.  When he is at home or travelling, he uses an NIV (Non Invasive Ventilation) ventilator with a nasal pillows fitting. He can walk short distances and wears an adapted "Milwaukee brace" to support his spine. His work, with the Group for over 20 years has involved Chairing the Group for its first 12 years, planning, negotiating, attending meetings and promoting the situation of Polio Survivors. He carries out a lot of this work with his computer which he operates using 'voice control".

Jim's interests, when he gets the time, are mainly Rugby and Racing, but he is also interested in most other sports. In 2001 the International Year of Volunteers, Jim was honoured to receive an award in the category 'Volunteering Impact' from Volunteering Ireland, in recognition of his contribution and commitment to his work for the Post Polio Support Group. Jim can be contacted through our office, or by E-mail address: or through his personal E-mail Address:


Susan Dowling

Photo of Susan DowlingSusan was born in the UK and contracted polio in 1957 while living with her family near Oxford. She was educated at Rye St. Anthony School and went on to train as an Occupational Therapist. While working at a hospital in north London she met her first husband who was a paramedic. She went on to work as a Community OT in London and Bedfordshire, a job which she found hugely fulfilling and rewarding but, in time, owing to back pain, she was obliged to retire from work. Following the death of her husband from cancer, she became a volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau giving her the opportunity to support others encountering difficulties in their lives.

In 1998, she met Liam who is from Paulstown in County Kilkenny. They came to Ireland to live and were married in 2002. Susan has continued her community work by becoming an Information Provider with the Citizens Information Centre in Kilkenny and a member of the Kilkenny Access Group. She has also completed courses in computer skills, access auditing and teaching Information Technology.

Susan joined the Group in 2006 and was instrumental in founding the Kilkenny social support group in 2008 of which she is currently the convenor. In 2010, she became Coordinator of the Telephone Support Service which has expanded significantly under her stewardship and continues to build a support network for many members. Susan and Liam live in County Kilkenny with their hens and indulge their joint interests of American classic cars, TV sport, eating out and spending time in Tenerife during the winter months.

You can contact Susan through the office or by e mail to

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Patrick Guy

Photo of Pat GuyPat is originally from Dublin but now lives in Portlaoise. Pat contracted Polio at eleven months of age and spent the next three years in hospital. Later he had surgery on several occasions in the Orthopedic Hospital Clontarf. He now walks with the aid of a walking stick. Schoolboy football is the love of his life and he has run teams in different clubs, such as Belville Utd., Belgrave F.C. and St. Patrick’s Ath, over a period of 34 years. Pat qualified as a plumber and heating fitter but had to retire due to the onset of Post Polio Syndrome and other health issues. His hobbies include a spot of fishing, watching football, reading, driving and improving his computer skills.

Pat found out about the Post Polio Support Group on the internet and was soon very involved with its work. He assisted in setting up the Tallaght Social Support Group, now known as the Dublin South West Post Polio Support Group, one of the largest groups in the country. Until recently he served as its convenor. He is also involved in the Ring Ring project which he finds very enjoyable and he encourages other members to volunteer with this very valuable service. Pat has been on the Board of the PPSG since 2011.

Pat can be contacted through the office or by e mail at

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Joyce Henderson

Joyce HendersonJoyce is a Polio Survivor and her very first involvement with the Post Polio Support Group was in the early nineties when she and Ann Leyden attended a meeting in Dublin with the founding committee. Joyce worked for 40 years as an Occupational Therapist in the area of mental and physical health. On returning to Bray she joined the Post Polio Support Group and attended the Bray Support Group. Over time her involvement with PPSG has varied. She volunteered with the Ring Ring Telephone Support project and later became convenor of the Bray Social Support Group. In recent times Joyce has served on the Social Support Committee.

Joyce believes that the combination of her experience as an OT, and her voluntary work in various roles in the PPSG, has given her an understanding of the impact of disability on the individual and the importance of PPSG to its members. Joyce was elected to the Board at this year’s AGM. Joyce can be contacted though the office.

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Pat McGillion

Born in Monaghan in 1946, Pat contracted Polio in 1947. He walked with a limp until he fractured his femur in 1999. He now uses an orthosis and walks with a stiff leg. Pat spent one year in Coole Orthopaedic Hospital in 1957/58 where he underwent surgery that reduced his eventual height by 4 ½". Educated at CBS Monaghan, Pat went to UCD where he graduated with a BE in Electrical Engineering in 1969. He joined the ESB in 1971 where he was assigned to Cork District as assistant to the Commercial Engineer. During his time in Cork Pat met Bernadette and they married in 1974. He returned to Dublin in 1973 and in 1975 commenced an MBA in UCD graduating in 1977. He then studied for the Dip. in Accounting and Finance with the ACCA.. To devote more time to his family Pat started lecturing part time with the College of Commerce (now DIT) and became an examiner with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants. During this time he worked in a range of roles with ESB. He took early retirement in 2004. Since then Pat has undertaken a course in mediation in UCD (Dip. in Med. Studies) and commenced as a consultant in mediation. Bernadette and Pat have five children. Pat joined the PPSG a number of years ago and became a member of the Compliance & Governance Committee last year. He is a member of St. Peters Conference of the Society of SVdeP for over 10 years. Pat was recently co-opted to the Board. Pat can be contacted through the office.

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Roisin Nolan

Photo of Roisin NolanRóisín trained as an Occupational Therapist in Dublin and subsequently completed a Masters in Rehabilitation Studies in U.C..D. She worked in the Central Remedial Clinic in Clontarf, where she would have met many people who had contracted polio in the late 1950’s. Following a break in her career for several years while raising her family, she returned to work as a community occupational therapist with the HSE in North County Dublin. Becoming aware of the changes which were taking place for the polio survivors she encountered stimulated an interest in post polio syndrome and its effects.

Roisin became involved with PPSG in a voluntary capacity about 15 years ago and was a member of the group which compiled the publication “Management and Treatment in Primary Care” in 2007. She has been a member of the Ethics and Benefits Committee for several years and has been Chairperson of this group since 2013. She was co-opted to the Board of PPSG in 2014. Róisín retired from the HSE in 2011. She has continued her involvement with the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland as a member of the Ann Beckett Award Committee.

She lives in North Dublin with her husband Jim. She has three children and four grandchildren.

Róisín can be contacted through the office or by email at

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Evelyn Wainwright

Photo of Evelyn WainwrightEvelyn contracted polio in 1949 spending time in Cappagh and Baldoyle hospitals and having a number of operations before she was 15. She worked for a number of years before marrying her husband Terry. From 1976 to 2004 she was a fundraiser and organiser driving teams all around Munster on behalf of Disabled Drivers Assoc of Ireland. She left in 2004 and went to L'Arche Community where she worked until 2011. She now drives for Meals on Wheels Togher and the Lough, two days a week and is Assistant Treasurer for Togher. Evelyn also teaches computers for beginners for Age Action Cork two days a week. All on a voluntary basis.

In 2004 she took on the role of Regional Representative and Convenor in Cork for PPSG. Evelyn has been a Board member since 2007. She has worked tirelessly for the members in Cork and has been on the Fundraising Committee and the Social Support committee. “I do what I can to help the PPSG in every way so I can support the members and the work of the Board to the best of my ability with my life experience.” Evelyn can be contacted at or at 021 484 7313

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