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

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Marie Boland

Marie BolandMarie Boland hails from Limerick. She contracted polio at 4 years of age. After various treatments in Limerick and Dublin she walked well. She noticed the effects of Post Polio Syndrome more than 8 years ago, more weakness than usual in her right leg, pain, cold and fatigue. She is a widow of some 25 years and has three adult children and seven grandchildren.

She has a great interest in helping people and has been active in many community organisations for more than 30 years. Her interests have spanned parish work, school management and politics and she still is an active member of her parish council, St Munchin’s, and the Legion of Mary. She has had many years experience in fundraising for local and national charitable projects.

She has been Convenor with the Limerick social support group since it was re-activated in 2008 and served on the Social Support Committee. She worked with a team drawn from Clare, North Tipperary and Limerick to host the Conference and AGM in 2010.

Marie was a member of the Limerick Walking Club for many years and she reflects that even if she didn’t walk too far she certainly enjoyed the camaraderie. She has travelled a lot and boasts of climbing 37 steps of the Great Wall of China - not bad for a Polio Survivor! She can be contacted through the office or by e mail

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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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Tom Carberry

Photo of Tom CarberryTom was reared near Moate in Co. Westmeath. He contracted Polio in October 1958 and was admitted to Cherry Orchard Hospital and later transferred to St. Joseph’s Orthopaedic Hospital in Coole in Co. Westmeath.

He later returned home to complete his education, qualifying as a motor mechanic. His career later changed direction and he became a company representative and now, 36 years later is still with the same company.

Tom is married to Joan and lives in Two-Mile-House near Naas in Co. Kildare.

Tom is active in local community organisations especially fundraising for groups dealing with the needy. He chairs the Co. Kildare Twinning Committee which has links to Kentucky amongst other places and is a member of the Longford/Westmeath Argentine Society.

Tom does not have any major mobility problems and feels that he is one of the luckier Polio Survivors in that he can still work full time. One of his reasons for joining the Post Polio Support Group was that he hoped to help promote awareness of the many people who are now suffering the late effects of Polio. He feels that while Polio itself can be little understood today, the late effects of Polio can be unheard of even among certain members of the medical profession.

He can be contacted through the office or by email

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Jim Costello

Photo of Jim CostelloJim 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 lives at home mainly 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.   He is the only Irish user of an "Iron Lung Ventilator".  Jim requires a medical ventilator up to 16 hours daily, mainly at night.  When he is at home or travelling, he uses an NIV (Non Invasive Ventilation) ventilator with a nose fitting. He walks well and wears a "Milwaukee brace" to support his spine. His work, leading the Group over many years, has involved planning, negotiating promoting the situation of Polio Survivors and attending meetings, supported by 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:

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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 from Dublin; he contracted Polio at eleven months of age and spent the next three years in hospital. He later had surgery on several occasions in the Orthopedic Hospital Clontarf. He has a pronounced limp and walks with the aid of a walking stick.

Schoolboy football was the love of his life and he ran 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 with setting up the Tallaght social support group, now known as the Dublin South West Post Polio Support Group (DSWPPSG). It is one of the larger groups within the organization and Pat is now the convenor and delighted that it is still growing. Pat is also involved in the Ring Ring project which he finds very enjoyable and he is keen to encourage other members to join this very worthwhile project.

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

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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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Rose Russell O’Donovan

Photo of RoseRussell ODonovanRose Russell O'Donovan is a native of Douglas, Cork, and has lived in Youghal for more than 30 years. She contracted Polio at the age of 11 months in 1956 and spent the best part of 18 yrs in St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital in Cork. She had problems over the years with her left leg which was amputated in October 2004. She was diagnosed with Post Polio Syndrome in 1996.

Rose met her husband, Jimmy Russell, and got married in 1975. She had 2 daughters and 1 son. But sadly Jim passed away in 1992. She married her present husband Max O’Donovan in June 1995.

In June 2009 Rose was featured as one of three Polio Survivors in a television documentary on RTE 1, called “Living with Polio.” It was one of a six part series called “Outbreak”. Rose relaxes by swimming, indoor bowling and reading.

Rose has been active in charity work for 30 years. She is a voluntary worker in a local charity shop in Youghal and deeply involved in fundraising. She enjoys the Cork Mini Marathon and won the wheelchair category last year making the front cover of THE SURVIVOR as did her two beautiful dogs “Gucci and Louis”. Rose can be contacted through the office or by e mail

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Evelyn Wainwright

Photo of Evelyn WainwrightEvelyn joined the Board in early 2007 but she was no stranger to the Group.  She became a member right from the start and has been a mainstay of the Post Polio Support Group particularly in Cork and the south of the country generally.  In recent years she has taken more of a national role, building on her work as regional representative and convenor of the social support  group which meets in the Vienna Woods Hotel in Glanmire in Cork.  She is a member of the Fundraising Committee.  

Evelyn 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.  Despite bringing up two daughters Evelyn has worked most of her married life and is currently working with the L’Arche Community in Cork; a job that gives her great satisfaction.  She also is a very proud grandmother of two.  Evelyn receives great support from Terry, her family and friends to live a very active life.  She is a great shopper and finds that the scooter has given her a new lease of life since a fall in 1999 meant she needed the support of two sticks.  And, as she says herself.  " is good, Thank God"   She can be contacted at or 021 4847313.

Evelyn Wainwright's former surname is Hurley.

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