President’s post for Susan at NIVA AGM
Cedar Grove’s Susan Cunningham was appointed as the new president of the NIVA during the organisation’s recent AGM at Dunadry, writes Fiona McFarland.
Aurelie Moralis welcomed a packed room of members at the recent NIVA Annual General Meeting in the Dunadry Hotel during February, when the association elected Susan Cunningham as president for 2020.
Having served a year as junior vice president (JVP), Susan will now also undertake the role of president of the BVA NI branch. She is joined on the officer team by succeeding JVP and fellow council member, Mark Little.
Susan graduated in 1991 and worked initially as a casual VO in Ballymena. She then moved to Hong Kong to spend a year working for the RSPCA, based in its small animal hospital. Returning to NI in 1993, she started working in Cedar Grove, Belfast where she still works part-time today and has been a council member since 2015. She has been a frequent volunteer with WVS and Mission Rabies and has visited many countries sharing her skill and experience in small animal medicine and surgery.
At the AGM, Aurelie, who will continue as senior vice-president, thanked retiring council members, Hatti Dainton and Pat Hart. Hatti’s considerable input has involved over six years of service on council both as YVN NI representative and treasurer. Pat Hart has undertaken various roles over many years including past-president and was subsequently awarded honorary membership.
The NIVA council was elected and confirmed as follows: secretary – Rachel Davies; treasurer – Seamus O’Kane and press officer – Fiona McFarland. Council members are Alan Gordon, William Sherrard, Lara Wilson, Sean Rooney, Kirsten Dunbar, Inge d’Haese, Ed Taylor, Sean Wensley and Mark Savage. The VetNI board rep is Aurelie Moralis, the AVSPNI rep is Philip Walsh, and Rachel Davies will represent the YVN. Ex officio members will be Robert Huey, CVO and Esther Skelly-Smith, BVA regional representative.
In her incoming president’s speech, Susan told the gathering that she was ‘positively honoured’ and looking forward to the privilege of ‘representing my fabulous colleagues’.
‘On accepting the nomination as JVP, I did so with declared interests in the issues facing vets in a rapidly changing professional landscape; veterinary mental health, animal welfare in a range of contexts, responsible medicine use, and the rising tide of one health awareness,’ continued Susan.
‘I maintain those interests, however, the breadth of expertise represented on council has allowed me to spend the last year learning a lot more about Brexit, manpower issues, TB, and the structure of various BVA committees.
‘These are, indeed, interesting times for the veterinary profession. There are changes on the way from the RCVS including telemedicine, the definition of ‘under our care’, and changing the burden of proof in disciplinary hearings. Your opinions are being sought and I look forward to passing on your views.’
The new president also welcomed the return of the Stormont Assembly and the opportunity that this should provide for agreeing and funding devolved animal health and welfare initiatives. And she highlighted the issues involving our profession in Brexit:
‘There are major implications for manpower, our food producers, drug availability and pet travel, with very particular nuances in an NI context. Maintaining good communications with our colleagues over the border and encouraging rapid transfer of information between the negotiating tables of Europe and the vets at the sharp end of legislation implementation will clearly be a priority,’ she said.
‘Every one of us has a part to play in shaping our future professional landscape. We do need to stand together, respecting one another’s opinions and differences of opinion, to advocate for our profession, our patients, the sectors we represent and serve, and the planet.’
Following the AGM Susan welcomed guest speaker Richard Moore who gave a very informative talk entitled ‘Everybody had a Donkey – An introduction to the significant role equines can play in improving human physical and mental health’.
NIVA has expressed its thanks to Duggan Veterinary Supplies, who sponsored this event.