Archive for Micheal Gannon

Audited Accounts for 20016, now available to view

audit-300x300Audited Accounts for 20016,now available to view.
We have now posted our audit for 2016 to our website. Mazars of Salthill completed this audit and we are very grateful for their long standing support. All our supporters and the general public are welcome to view the accounts. Our greatest supporters are you the general public which supports all our work and Irish Aid which supported our medical collaboration with Mother Theresa University Hospital. Irish Friends of Albania Financial_Statements_2016

Click here to see it: Irish Friends of Albania Audit 2016

Irish Friends Friends of Albania Ltd 2016

IFoA Financial Statements 2016

Kosova Surgeon Reattaches a Patient’s Finger – Busy Autumn for Microsurgery in the Balkans


2Kosova Surgeon Reattaches a Patient’s Finger – Busy Autumn for Microsurgery in the Balkans

It has been a busy and very productive time for microsurgery in the Balkans. Our chairman Mr Jack McCann visited Mother Theresa Univeristy Hospital in September to deliver the third microsurgery course in the Microsurgery Laboratory which we have helped to establish in 2014.

Eight surgeons from Albania, Kosova and Macedonia completed the training course during the week.  This brings to 44 the number of surgeons who have completed the course over the past 2 years.

The addition of a third microscope, with the support of Electric Aid in 2015, has been a great boost to the courses. The course is a hands on course and therefore the trainees need as much time on the microscope as possible.

Following the course Mr McCann was invited to This November Mr McCann presented a paper “The Importance of Microsurgery in Reconstruction” & “Head and Neck Reconstruction” to the International Conference of Plastic Surgery hosted by Pristina University Hospital with participation from 7 countries of the Balkans and Southern Europe.

The highlight of the conference was a presentation by the young Kosovar surgeon Dr. Ylber Zejnullahu from Pristina University Hospital. Ylber presented his experience on reattaching the finger of a patient who lost it in an accident in Pristina. Ylber’s training in the microsurgery laboratory made this operation possible.1

June 2016: Mayor Frank Fahy’s Mayoral Ball Contributed €3,000 to Irish Friends of Albania


We were delighted to be a beneficiary of the Mayor Frank Fahy’s Mayoral Ball in June. The Ball contributed €3,000 to our voluntary work. 

Twenty seven supporters of our charity joined the 200 guests on the night at the Radisson and were treated to a wonderful night of company, dining and top class entertainment. It was an honour to be asked to speak about our charitable work to the guests and we are full of admiration for all the charities supported by the event. Special thanks to Mary Bennett and the organisation team who did such an excellent job with the preparations and on the night itself. We ourselves organised 8 Charity Balls over the years and we appreciate all the hard work and commitment of the organisers._MG_2605

We are deeply grateful to Mayor Fahy for his great interest in Albania and the historic step of visiting as Mayor of Galway. This recognises and builds the relationship between Galway and Albania. We hope he now gets some much deserved rest after a hectic year as Mayor and wish his successor Noel Larking every success.

Attachment of first Irish Medical Students to Mother Theresa University Hospital, Tirana


Irish Friends of Albania was delighted to assist in the arrangements of the attachments of two medical undergraduate students from Trinity College Dublin to Mother Theresa University Hospital, Tirana for the Summer months. Traditionally many undergraduates use the Summer to visit foreign hospitals for attachments. They gain invaluable experience of new environments, often very challenging due to lack of resources, they see patients with conditions which are less common here in Ireland and they make friends with their colleagues which they often maintain throughout their careers.

This Summer Irish Friends of Albania assisted Granit Ismaili and Josephine Fitzpatrick to undergo an attachment in the General Surgery, Neurosurgery and Plastic Surgery Units of Mother Theresa University Hospital, Tirana, where we have a long collaboration.

The attachment was extra special for Granit as he is Irish and Albanian so he was able to return to Albania where he spent his early childhood years.

The students have been delighted with their attachment to date and will report fully on their experience in the Autumn. Special thanks to all the Albanian personnel who welcomed them and to Profesors Dracini, Petrela and Belba for facilitating the visit.

Microsurgery Training Mission


The next microsurgery training mission will take from September 19th to 24th in the microsurgery laboratory in Mother Theresa University Hospital, Tirana. Mr Jack McCann will make his third training visit to this centre which Irish Friends of Albania have established with support from Irish Aid and most recently Electric Aid.

Up to 20 surgeons from Albania and Kosova will participate in the training which will improve their skills and knowledge of micro-surgery. They come from all specialties of surgery . Mr McCann will also liaise with Tirana University on its plans to include microsurgery within the curriculum of the Faculty of Medicine.

Essential items needed to support this trip are sutures, micro instruments and Irish Friends of Albania is very grateful to medical companies and hospitals which can assist with their supply.

November 2015 Visit to the Microsurgery Training Centre in Albania


Twelve surgeons attended the third Microsurgery Workshop held in Tirana during the first week of November 2015.

There were 2 Neurosurgeons from Kosovo, 1 Orthopaedic/Hand Surgeon and 1 Maxillofacial Surgeon from Albania.

There were 8 local General Surgery trainees also on the Course. These were the first General Surgeons to attend the Course.

Click here to see more photos

We delivered a third teaching microscope the previous week, paid for with the sponsorship of Electric Aid and funds raised by the Irish Friends of Albania Fashion Show held in Galway in April of this year. We also gifted some more micro instruments, clamps and micro sutures essential for the Course.

These were very gratefully accepted by the head of the Neurosurgery Department, Professor Mentor Petrela and Doctor Ridvan who is in charge of Microsurgery. We once again had the assistance of Dr Sokol Isaraj of the Plastic Surgery Department and Doctor Gramos who helped in the Unit. All the participants did very well and feel that the Course is essential for all surgeons. It will soon be on the curriculum of surgical training through the University of Tirana.

During the week, I met with Professor Ramazan Isufi of the Maxillofacial Surgery Department . He told me he has the honour of organising and hosting the 2016 European Conference in Maxillofacial Surgery for the first time in Tirana. He has invited me to speak at the Conference and the date is yet to be confirmed.

My wife Moya also came to Albania with me, her first visit in 5 years. She and Margalina Sina went to the State run Children’s Homes in Shkodra and Tirana . There they met the new Director in each Home and are happy to report that the Solar and plumbing projects installed by the volunteer construction team of Irish Friends of Albania are all working well and the children and staff are delighted. The Directors are both very progressive and ambitious for the children. We wish them every success.

Jack McCann
Chairman, Irish Friends of Albania





Mayor of Galway, Frank Fahy met with Albanian doctors at the Microsurgery Training Laboratory in Tirana

frank-fahy-700x357Mayor of Galway, Frank Fahy met with Albanian doctors at the Microsurgery Training Laboratory in Tirana
Mayor of Galway Cllr. Frank Fahy visited Albania from 4-8 October 2015. He is the first Irish mayor to ever visit Albania, which is a former communist eastern bloc country.
During his visit to Albania Mayor Fahy, visited, Kamza city and met with the Mayor of this city Mr.Xhelal Mziu. On Monday October 5th, Mayor Fahy met with the Mayor of Albania’s capital city Tirana, Mr. Erion Veliaj and the Deputy Mayor of this city Ms. Brunilda Paskali. After that he visited Shkdra city, were he met the Mayor of Shkodra city Ms. Voltana Ademi. During his visit he also met with the Advisor to the Albanian President, for Local Government Affairs, Mr. Ylli Asllani, with the deputy leader of the Democratic Party of Albania, Prof. Edmond Spaho,and with the former Prime Minister of Albania, Prof. Sali Berisha.
Mayor of Galway, Cllr. Frank Fahy continued his visit with a meeting with some Albanian doctors at the Microsurgery Training Laboratory, Department of Neurosurgery at Mother Theresa University Hospital in Tirana. This ​ ​facility has been supported by Irish Friends of Albania with the funding support of Irish Aid and Electric Aid and Mr. Jack McCann of Galway has helped to establish this as an invaluable training facility for surgeons in the Balkans.
Friends-of-Albania-Microscopes1Mayor Fahy also visited the Albanian International School (AIS), in Tirana, which is a model international school offering a broad, challenging and stimulating educational program to students from diverse language and cultural backgrounds. He visited Durres city and town of Kruja which is the town of the biggest National Museum in this country, dedicated to Albania’s National hero George Kastrioti. During his trip to Albania he also visited the museum of Shkodra and this city’s famous 4th Century BC Castle of Rozafa. A very emotional visit for Mayor Fahy was the visit he paid to the home where the family of Mother Theresa of Calcutta used to live in Shkodra city, in Northern Albania.
During his visit, Mayor Fahy was accompanied by Mr. Ndrek Gjini, a member of the Board of Directors of Irish Friends of Albania.

Irish Friends of Albania 2015 AGM on Monday 6th July at 8pm


Irish Friends of Albania 2015 AGM

Irish Friends of Albania will hold its Annual General Meeting on Monday 6th July at 8pm. Meeting will take place at 15 University Road, Galway.  All are welcome to attend.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Irish Friends of Albania Fashion Show Raises €9000


Irish Friends of Albania Fashion Show Raises €9000

A wonderful celebration of Fashion and fun was enjoyed by approximately 250 guests at the Galway Bay Hotel on Wednesday 22nd April. The Reception was sponsored by Butlers Chocolates, Sweet Treats by Fiona and by the Hotel. Martina Regan was there to take photos of the ladies dressed in their finest before the latest designs were unveiled by Ail Ruin, Brown Thomas, Colette Latchford, Emily Jean Designs, Flanagan Footwear, Fusion Fashion, Galway Hat Shop, Garments, Joanne’s Boutique of Killaloe, Kilkenny, Optique Opticians, Standun and Treasure Chest. Our guests had an opportunity to explore the interesting exhibits which included Aloe Vera from Marian Charlton, Anne Marie’s Boutique of Tuam, Emily Jean Designs, Motivation Weight Management, Renaissance Hair Salon, Stella & Dot Jewellery by Susie Heaslip, University Pharmacy and Wrapsody Gift Shop of Moycullen. The audience was entertained by hilarious comedian Frank Forde at the interval and were very generous in their support of the exciting Raffle. Wonderful prizes were sponsored by Anne Marie’s Boutique, Anthony Ryan, Belleek Living, Brigid Brophy, Brown Thomas, Colette Latchford, Da Robertas, David Martin Hair Salon, Design House Barna, Dock No 1, Don’t Call Me Dear, Emily Jean Designs, Euphoria, Foxford Jewellery, Galway Bay Hotel, Glengowla Mines, Hanley Menswear, Hartmann’s, Kildare Village, Koztello Hair Salon, Lazlo Jewellery, Matt O’Flaherty Chemist, McSharry’s Pharmacy, Natural Beauty Therapy, O’Beirn’s Pharmacy, Optique Opticians, Premoli, Rennaissance Hair Salon, Seavite, Standun, Tangles Hair Salon, The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Westwood Hotel and Zip Yard. We are very grateful to all our other sponsors including Fiesta House in Ennis, GBFM, Image Magazine, Ndrek Gjini, Renaissance Hair Salon, Sara Duffy, St Mary’s College School of Music and to the volunteers from St Mary’s College who helped to keep the evening flowing smoothly. MC Dermot Langan and Catwalk Model Agency were most professional in their production of a fabulous Show and were aided by 4 brave doctors from Galway University Hospital who modelled menswear from Brown Thomas! We extend our sincere thanks to all who supported this fundraising event and to those who sent generous donations. The funds raised will help greatly with our work in the Micro-surgery Laboratory in Mother Theresa University Hospital in Tirana. With your help we have raised €9000!

Click here to see photos 


Fashion Show on April 22nd 2015 at Galway Bay Hotel


The Fashion Show in aid of Irish Friends of Albania is on next Wednesday at Galway Bay Hotel, starting with an elaborate reception at 7.15pm sponsored by Butlers Chocolate, Galway Bay Hotel, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers and Sweet Treats by Fiona.  We will have complimentary gift bags from University Pharmacy and Image magazines for all!   We will have a local business exhibition to include Aloe Vera by Marion Charlton, Anne Marie’s Boutique in Tuam, Emily Jean Designs, Fiesta House Ennis, Motivation Weight Management, Pia, Renaissance Hair Salon and Nail Bar, Stella and Dot Jewellery, University Pharmacy, and Wrapsody of Moycullen. An exciting array of fashions from Galway’s leading stores and from as far away as Killaloe will be modelled by Catwalk Model Agency…see our poster for a full list!

At the interval our guests will have an opportunity to buy Raffle tickets…these prizes are too good to miss!  Our generous Raffle sponsors include Anne Marie’s Boutique, Belleek Living, Brown Thomas, Colette Latchford, David Martin Hair Salon, Dock number 1, Da Robertas, Emily Jean Designs, Faller’s Jewellers,  Foxford Jewellery, Galway Bay Hotel, Glengowla Mines, Hartmann’s, Havana, Kildare Village, Lazlo Jewellery, Natural Beauty Therapy, Optique Opticians,  Premoli, Rennaissance Hair Salon,  Seavite, Tangles Hair Salon,  The Lodge at Ashford Castle and Westwood Hotel. Comedy from the inimitable Frank Forde will open Part 2 of the Show.  We are very grateful to all our sponsors for their support and we hope that everyone will enjoy the evening!

Tickets for 25 euro are still available from participating shops, Galway Bay Hotel and from Moya 087-8291916. Don’t miss a great evening of fun and Fashion!

April 2015 Visit to Tirana


April 2015 Visit to Tirana

 Mr Jack McCann will travel to Tirana soon to assist with the second and third Microsurgery Training Courses in Mother Teresa University Hospital.  These will take 6 trainees per course bringing the total number to 24 since the Microsurgery Training Laboratory opened in July 2014.  Irish Friends of Albania is currently fundraising to purchase a third new training microscope to donate to the Laboratory.

Our 8th Fashion Show on April 22nd 2015

2015 Poster

Galway Bay Hotel
Wednesday 22nd April 2015

We will have amazing collections from Ail Ruin, Brown Thomas, Colette Latchford, Design House Barna, Emily Jean Designs, Flanagan Footwear, Fusion Fashion, Galway Hat Shop, Garments, Joanne’s Fashion House, Kilkenny, Optique Opticians, Standun and Treasure Chest. Mandy Maher of Catwalk Model Agency will co-ordinate the Show and we will have Hospital Consultant Doctors as our male models showing menswear from Brown Thomas.
Thanks to all our sponsors including Renaissance Hair Salon, Sara Duffy Make-up, Fiesta House Ennis and Galway Bay Hotel.
Tickets will be available from participating shops, from Galway Bay Hotel and from Moya 087-8291916. Tickets will cost 25 euro, for which our guests will enjoy a Cheese & Wine reception sponsored by Butlers Chocolates, Seamus Sheridan and Simply Divine Cakes; gift bags from University Pharmacy; complimentary IMAGE magazines; a great Fashion & Jewellery  Exhibition; comedy with Frank Forde; a generous Raffle and a wonderful Fashion Show!

Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year


I would like to wish all our volunteers, directors, fundraisers, sponsors and collaborators a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year and to thank them all for their support.

I would especially like to thank Michael Gannon, who has been our Administrator since our Charity was founded in 2005.

Michael has recently stepped down but remains with us as a volunteer. He has given unstintingly of his time and expertise over the years and I wish him well.
Jack McCann, F.R.C.S.I., B.Sc.
Plastic Surgeon
Chairman Irish Friends of Albania

Surgical and Training Visit to Kosova and Albania


Surgical and Training Visit to Kosova and Albania
In early December our chairman Mr.Jack McCann visited the Maxillo-Facial Surgery Unit of Pristina University Hospital, Kosova. This unit is now under the direction of Professor Sami Salihiu since the retirement of Professor Osman Sejfiya who also met Jack a couple of times on this trip. Jack also visited the Plastic Surgery Department under Professor Hysni. There together with the local team he operated on some patients; two patients had large facial cancers and one child had a large fibroma on his nose. Jack also saw 2 patients with congenital absence of an ear; these are planned for reconstruction in 2015.
fotoThe Plastic Surgery Department has plans for a new unit; the main challenge is that the cost is close to €2 million. The total health budget for Kosova is €86 million euro for a population of 2 million people. This compares to over €12 billion euro for a population of 4 million in Ireland. In other words the health budget per capita is €3,000 in Ireland and just €43 in Kosova.
Jack travelled from Pristina to Tirana with Doctor Fellanza Gjinolli of the Maxillo-Facial Department and her husband Talat, a neurosurgeon. Their route went by way of Macedonia; this was Jack’s first visit to another very beautiful country.
The main occasion of Mr McCann visit to Albania was the International Maxillo-Facial Surgery Conference in Tirana organised by Professor Ramazan Isufi. Jack presented 2 papers at the conference; “Collaboration of Irish Friends of Albania with Mother Teresa University Hospital over the past 10 years” and “Maxillary Distraction – a case presentation”. The conference was a major international training event with 3 speakers from Germany, 2 from Italy, some from Kosovo and Macedonia as well as many local speakers from Tirana.
Professor Mentor Petrela of the Neurosurgery Department welcomed Jack back and the surgeons made plans for the next Microsurgery Workshop in April 2015. Irish Friends of Albania presented the training with some more micro instruments which are needed for training. A meeting was held with the new Dean of Medicine of Tirana University to discuss the strengthening of Microsurgery Training on the Surgery Curriculum.
Lina Sina, our part-time administrator in Albania, again was of immense help as translator and organiser. So it is time now to prepare for the April 2015 trip!

Audited Accounts now available to view


Audited Accounts for 20013,now available to view

We have now posted our audit for 2013 to our website. Mazars of Salthill completed this audit and we are very grateful for their long standing support.  All our supporters and the general public are welcome to view the accounts. Our greatest supporters are you the general public which supports all our work and Irish Aid which supports our 4 years medical collaboration with Mother Theresa University Hospital. Irish Friends of Albania Financial_Statements_2013

In 2012 and 2013 we have seen a fall  of over 20% in income raised from fundraising. This is to be expected in the current recession.

Click here to see it: Irish Friends of Albania Audit 2013 

Irish Friends Friends of Albania Ltd 2013

Albert Reynolds RIP

July 31st 2007

All at the charity were saddened to learn of the death of the former Taoiseach  Albert Reynolds this week. Albert Reynolds  was the eighth Taoiseach  (Prime Minister)of  Ireland, serving one term in office from 1992 until 1994.

We are all aware of his outstanding achievements throughout his political and business life and in particular his role in the peace process.
What is not so well known however is that Albert was also active during his retirement in support of several charities. Among those activities he supported the advancement of tele-medicine throughout Ireland and cultivated links between medical centres in Ireland and the USA. In 2006 he assisted us to purchase 2 tele-medicine units in order to create a link between Albania and Galway. This unit has been used to see dozens of patients over the years and to enable consultations between Ireland and Albania.

Our photo show Albert Reynolds on his visit to our office at 15 University Road in Galway on July 31st 2007 to launch the tele-medicine link.
Photo – L to R: Mr Jack McCann, Mr Padraic Regan, Michael Gannon, Micheal Kitt and Albert Reynolds at the tele-medicine link. On the screen live from Tirana is Margalina Sina.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Albania Opens First Microsurgery Training Laboratory

Microscope Laboratory Entrance
Mr Jack McCann and Prof. Mentor Petrela together with Albanian and Kosovar trainees outside the new Microsurgery Laboratory

Microsurgery Training Laboratory Established in Mother Theresa University Hospital

Microsurgery is surgery requiring an operating microscope. It enables anastomosis (reconnection) of small blood vessels and nerves and this allows transfer of tissue from one part of the body to another and re-attachment of severed parts. This is essential for treatment of damaged skin due to tumours or traumas.
Microsurgical techniques are utilized by general surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, gynaecological surgery, otolaryngology, neurosurgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, plastic surgery, and paediatric surgery.

Mother Theresa University Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tirana sought our support to establish a Microsurgery Training Laboratory within MTUH. This initiative fitted perfectly with our mission to assist long term and lasting improvements in Albanian and Kosovar surgical services.

With the generous support of the public and all our fundraisers and of Irish Aid we were delighted to be able to help achieve the vision for a top-class facility which can train surgeons locally.

MTUH has one operating microscope which is several decades old but still functional. However two more microscopes were needed to enable group training. These microscopes come fitted with monitors which enable tutors and other students to observe the surgeons working.

Our chairman Mr Jack McCann assisted with the sourcing of the microscopes. We are grateful to Laboratory Instruments & Supplies of Ashbourne for supplying the equipment and to Priority Freight of Dover for looking after the transportation of this delicate cargo. Both companies supported the work with large discounts.

In July Mr Jack McCann travelled to Tirana and helped the local team to set up the laboratory in a dedicated room with the Dept of Neurosurgery in MTUH. Jack and local tutor Dr Ridvan he delivered the first week of training to 9 Albanian surgeons and 3 Kosovar surgeons from Prishtina University Hospital.

The welcome for the new facility was fantastic and this is an auspicious beginning for a surgical specialty that will benefit the populations of Albania and many Balkan countries for decades to come.

Friends of Albania Microscopes1
Mr Jack McCann and Microsurgery tutor Dr. Ridvan Alimehmeti oversee Albanian and Kosovar trainees in new Microsurgery Laboratory

Solar power assists the Elderly of Albania


Solar power assists the Elderly of Albania

In May our construction team from Kerry and Kilkenny successfully completed its fifth volunteer visit to Albania.
The team installed a solar panel water heating system for the 52 residents of the state owned Home for the Elderly in Kavaja, Central Albania.
The installation of a solar water heating system assures free hot water to the Home for as long as the sun shines, which is over 300 days a year. This will reduce their electricity bills dramatically. Therefore the system more than pays for its costs within a few years and continues to supply hot water for years to come.
We are very grateful to our main sponsor Electric Aid who funded this mission with €8,000. We thank also RVR of Kenmare, Co. Kerry and other Kerry suppliers for the wonderful support they have given this mission. Without all this support the mission would not be possible.
In countries from Galway to Kerry to Co.Down our fundraisers worked hard towards making this mission possible and we are very grateful to them all.
The Irish team were: John Kehoe, Ger Treacy, Padraic Kerins, Donie Broderick, Aidan Kennedy, John Kenneyd and Robert O Leary. They were supported by a local team of 4 tradesmen to install the systems. These local tradesmen will help the home to maintain the system.
John and his workmates also checked all the systems installed in Abania since 2009.
Photo shows the team with residents and the director of the Kavaja Home for the Elderly following installation of the solar water cylinder.

€12,000 for our work with patients and children in Albania

We would like to thank you for supporting our Fashion Show in the Galway Bay Hotel last week. We had over 350 guests and there was a great atmosphere on the night.

Our model agency, our shops, our exhibitors and most importantly our audience on the night have all informed us that the night was a great success.

We are delighted as a charity that the show raised over €12,000 for our work with patients and children in Albania. Our next trip to Albania is in May.

Keep an eye out for the local papers, Image and Galway Now magazines for photos and reports of the Show. 



Fashion Show to be held in Galway Bay Hotel on Tuesday 1st April, 2014

jack 2

Jack McCann, Chairman of Irish Friends of Albania and Nuala Gorham of Catwalk Model Agency announcing the Fashion Show to be held in Galway Bay Hotel next Tuesday 1st April; Reception @7.15pm. Tickets €25 from Moya 087-8291916 or from Hotel. Great girls’ night out with comedy by FRANK FORDE!