Just a Minute: Michael O'shea

Article excerpt

Byline: Fiona Wynne

MICHAEL O'SHEA is chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation. Fiona Wynne spoke to him about how to protect against heart disease and his challenging and sometimes frustrating job.

How did you get involved with the organi- sation?

I have no medical background so I am entirely in the management side of the business. I have no big interesting story about getting involved, I just saw the job advertised and applied for it and got it.

How long have you been working there?

Just over 12 years now. Sometimes it surprises me how long I've been here - the time really has just flown by without me noticing.

Give us a brief example of your daily routine?

It can vary from attending staff meetings here in the office to board meetings to speaking to the Minister for Health on certain initiatives.

What's the best thing about your job?

It's the challenge it presents. Ireland currently has twice the EU average number of premature deaths from heart disease so we are constantly trying to reduce this to at least the EU average.

Is it frustrating to see people do things that damage their health?

There are certain frustrations, especially since people are so well educated on what poses a danger these days. It's up to everybody - the Heart Foundation, the government, all organisations and the people - to work together to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Could you identify the single biggest contri- butor to heart disease?

There are a lot of factors, but I would have to say smoking would be the biggest evil, definitely more so than drinking where heart problems are concerned. …