Arranmore native Karen McGowan has been elected President of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

McGowan, an advanced nurse practitioner in Beaumont Hospital, takes over the role from outgoing INMO President, Martina Harkin-Kelly, also from Donegal.

McGowan was inspired to become a nurse at the age of six, after seeing the care provided to her father when he was hospitalised.

Trained at DCU, she has stayed at Beaumont throughout her career, now working as an advanced nurse practitioner in the hospital’s emergency department.

She has been an INMO rep in the workplace and has been on the union’s Executive Council for four years. She is also a native Irish speaker.

She will be supported in her work by Eilish Fitzgerald (1st Vice President) and Kathryn Courtney (2nd Vice President).

Incoming INMO President, Karen McGowan, said: “I want to thank my predecessor, Martina Harkin-Kelly, for her incredible work over the past years. I am truly honoured to become the INMO’s President – especially during this unprecedented time in the health service.

“I always wanted to be a nurse. When I was young, my father was very sick and spent a long period in hospital in Galway. As a six year old, I saw the expert care provided by the nurses. It left a lifelong impression on me.

“Working as a frontline emergency nurse, I’ve seen the incredible work my colleagues do. I’ve also seen how the health system lets them down, which is why I have always been an active, determined INMO member.

“I am so proud of the role that nurses and midwives have played during the pandemic and will work to the best of my abilities to represent them.”

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “Our professions are lucky to have Karen at the helm of our Executive Council. She is an experienced nurse and a dedicated trade unionist. She will be ably supported by Eilish and Kathryn. I look forward to working with them over the coming years.

“I would also like to thank outgoing president, Martina Harkin-Kelly, for her dedicated work over the past four years. Martina was president when I took over as General Secretary, and I am personally grateful to her support, guidance and work over an exceptionally busy period, which included the second strike in our history and an unprecedented pandemic.”