Our Committee

Committee members

  • Chairperson: Tony Wilkinson
  • Vice Chair: Virginia Conrick
  • Secretary: Kate Wilkinson
  • Treasurer:  Mick Burke

Other Committee Members

  • Jerome Maume – Young Onset Advisor
  • Ted Horgan – Advisor
  • Mary O’Callaghan
  • Kevin O’Donovan
  • Dr Suzanne Timmons – Health Advisor
  • Rita Kearney – Grant Applications
  • Monica Navarro Hickey – Mental Health  Advisor 

Use the tabs to find out more about our committee members:

Tony and Kate Wilkinson

I was born in Singapore but reared in the village of Ampang which is now a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My mother was a local from KL and my father a Yorkshireman in the British army. By the time I joined the army as a Royal Engineer aged 16, I had travelled to many countries across the world and was able to continue my travels with them.

The army gave me many skills which are as useful and applicable today as they were then. Holding rank came with responsibility, teaming, training and communicating. I worked as a specialist and became part of a select team that assesses personnel for officer training at Sandhurst Military Academy.

My team sport was rugby (centre, wing, I was a skinny lad but very fast). I had a passion for adventure training, rock climbing, mountaineering and whitewater rafting. On leaving the army my management skills led me to being recruited into British Airways where I trained as a Red Cap responsible for the aircraft once it had landed from controlling the maintenance and turnaround of the aircraft so it is ready to meet its flight schedule.

I changed career at the height of the Telecoms boom in the 90’s and qualified as a Network planner and designer in fibre optics. Using my military skills, I managed the logistics of running cohesive teams of designers and planners which included going out and physically walking and drawing the networks. I also liaised with local authorities and companies, worked to resolve way leaves and engineering challenges. My ability to negotiate and make good commercial decisions were always recognised by my employers and as a result I was headhunted a number of times.

I was diagnosed in April 2015 while living in London. We had always planned to return to Ireland, but the diagnosis changed our plans and we decided to come back sooner and settle into the community.

I first met Ted and the team in 2016 when they stopped for coffee in Innishannon Hotel en route to west Cork for their summer tour. They made me feel so welcome that I came away feeling I belonged. I joined the Cork Parkinson’s Association committee in 2017 taking on the role of group development and spearheading the campaign to get Parkinson’s nurses. I successfully completed a course with the European Patient Forum (EPF) and am a certified Patient Advocate. This enables me to lobby effectively at EU ministerial level as well as local and national level for better services for anyone living with Parkinson’s and advocate for patients to ensure their needs a met. Kate works alongside Tony in promoting new groups and raising awareness of Parkinson’s from the carer’s point of view.

I fully understand the responsibility of leadership and am privileged to follow in Ted Horgan’s footsteps with the amazing team we have built around us. The baton is in safe hands and my decisions will always be guided by what is best for our members. CPA can achieve the extraordinary, Is féidir linn!

Virginia ConrickVirginia is new to Cork Parkinson’s and just joined the Committee as Secretary and moved to the Vice Chair role in July ’21. She works as a Liaison Librarian in UCC Library and has an interest in research and access to resources. She has a strong background in voluntary work through union participation at committee level. She is interested in developing the CPA website into a One Stop Shop where anyone can find information at the click of a button.

Virginia is also well-versed in GDPR and Compliance. She has also delivered speeches to large audiences on women’s equality and other social issues close to her heart.

Mick BurkeMick is a retired teacher of Chemistry & Maths at Christian Brothers College, Cork.  In 2000, he spent 2 years in Sydney working as a postman and with the Sydney Olympics.  Prior to that he had a long career as Operations Manager in a French cosmetics firm in Cork.  While in CBC he served as Treasurer for 2 immersion programmes bringing 10 students to Zambia in 2011 and 2017, having general financial oversight of all fundraising and expenses and hopes to put his experiences to good use when working with the CPA

 

Kate stepped into the role of Secretary in July ’21 following role changes in the committee. A native of wild and wonderful Castletownbere, she has lived and work in many places. Having spent 25 years in London and working with some of the top flight companies in the city she returned to Bandon in 2016 following Tony’s diagnosis. She works in Financial Services and has been remote working since coming home. With experience in managing teams, communications, data analysis and IT she believes that these skills can be put to good use in driving forward the CPA vision.

Monica is a fully qualified Psychotherapist and a very experienced counsellor member of IACP. She worked with the West Cork Carers Support Group and has been providing psychotherapy services through organisations like Mymind and Lisheens House for over 2 years and is also an approved MII Mediator. (Mediators Institute of Ireland). Monica talks with our members every 2nd Monday of the month on our Cork Connect Zoom call and will be developing a series of programs for the group to assist our members with the emotional aspects of Parkinson’s.

Photo of Prof. Suzanne TimmonsProf. Suzanne Timmons is a consultant geriatrician In Cork, based in the Mercy University Hospital. She set up the Movement Disorder clinic in St. Finbarr’s hospital (for older people) in 2010. Suzanne runs two Masters Programmes in UCC (on dementia and older person rehabilitation) and leads several research projects in Parkinson’s disease, working closely with the Cork Parkinson’s Association.

Suzanne will provide support to the Association around clinical aspects of Parkinson’s, doing research that makes a difference, and influencing health policy.

Not-for-profit Programme Manager & Trainer with 30 years experience of programme management and coordination in the not-for-profit sphere including grant application and fundraising. Rita has worked with management committees/boards of directors to fulfil objectives and has developed and implemented programmes and projects. She has led teams to accomplish work targets in a strategic and professional manner focusing on resource requirements and business planning.

She has a strong understanding of legal, compliance and governance issues in relation to operating non-profit organisations and has considerable experience in the design, delivery and assessment of certified and non-certified training programmes. Her skills and competencies are transferable to a wide range of contexts.

Throughout her career, Rita has maintained a constant interest in social justice and ways to deal with social and economic exclusion. This is evident in the types of projects undertaken.