Yvonne Dowler, Moigh, Ballymahon has retired from the Health Services Executive after 38 years service.
A native of Donegal, she graduated with an honours degree in Hotel and Catering Management from the National College of Catering, Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin back in 1972.
Prior to joining the Health Service Yvonne managed the Agriculture House Dining Club in Kildare Street, catering for 1,500 staff. The many facets of this role also involved catering for State functions in Dublin Castle, Inveigh House and Leinster House.
In 1979 she was appointed Catering Manager to the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar and was catering adviser for the new Central Production Unit which was completed in 1987 as part of the new hospital development.
She graduated with a degree in Public Service Management (Hons) in 1997 (I.P.A.) A post graduate Diploma in Project Management (Hons) 1999, University of Limerick and the Leadership and Development Programme in 2002-2004- Office for Health Management.
In 1999, Yvonne was appointed Regional Catering Project Manager. This role encompassed all catering services for the counties Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.
New catering departments were designed and completed which included the Regional Hospitals of Tullamore and Portlaoise and the Community Nursing units in Birr, Tullamore, Abbeyleix, Mountmellick , Edenderry, Longford, Athlone and Castlepollard. Quality standards and achievements for these catering departments included the ISO 9000, EIQA Accreditation and the Happy Heart at Work Awards. Hygiene and Food Standards were developed and all staff trained to the standards set down by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Yvonne was the first recipient of the Crystal Clear Award for Literacy for developing a multilingual pictorial menu for in-patients in 2005. She collaborated closely with the Institute of Technology in Athlone and developed the hospital Modular Cookery for Hospital Chefs as part of the Chefs continuing professional development.
She was appointed by the HSE to advise on National Procurement specifications and contract awards, Nutritional Guidelines for Hospital catering services and by the Public Service Appointment Board to advise on various public service appointments.
She was a member of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland training forum which developed national standards for all grades of food workers and which published three guidance documents for Basic Food Handlers, Advanced Food Handlers and Management/Staff.
Yvonne was the Secretary for the National Vocational Hospital Catering Managers Association and a member of the Hospital Caterers Association (UK). She is also a member of the Health Management Institute of Ireland. Her publication included A Study of Catering Services in the Midland Health Board, A Food Cost Control System for Hospital Catering and the Evaluation of a Three Week Menu Cycle for Older persons in Long Stay Care.
She was a prominent member of Impact Union and held many positions in the Union at local and National level.
She attended the Annual Congress on several occasions where she was highly respected and did tremendous work at the local branch where she was always very professional and helpful to the many members.
We wish Yvonne and her husband Willie a long and happy retirement with their three sons.