Moving on from Cleft team in Temple Street

Professor Tri­ona Sweeney began her career in the Children’s University Hospital (CUH), Temple Street, Dublin, over 35 years ago and throughout that time has made a major contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the area of cleft-related speech problems. She is an internationally recognised author of many academic papers, and most recently contributed a book chapter to ‘Cleft Palate Speech’ along with other prominent figures in the field of cleft. She has lectured in both Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick, supervising the research of many MSc students as well as inspiring young therapists to follow in her footsteps and work in the area of cleft.

Whilst she is an academic, she is first and foremost a talented and mindful clinician, committed to attaining the best outcome for her patients. Triona has had a long association with the Cleft Lip and Palate Association of Ireland since its early days, ever aware of the importance of working in partnership with families. The voice of the patient is consistently at the heart of her work and her energy, dynamism and vision, inspire all those who work alongside her.

L-R: Mr. Michael Earley, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Triona Sweeney, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Professor Brendan Drumm, then CEO of the HSE. (18th March, 2008)

Above: L-R: Mr. Michael Earley, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Triona Sweeney, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Professor Brendan Drumm, CEO of the HSE. Dublin Cleft Conference, 18th March, 2008.

In between working, teaching, writing and raising a family of three boys, she devotes much of her spare time to improving cleft services in the developing world. In Triona’s capacity as a volunteer for Operation Smile, she is committed to establish long-term links with local teams in Addis Ababa and Jimma, in an effort to deliver a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary service for those affected by cleft. She has been instrumental in developing a Speech and Language Therapy training programme in Ethiopia, to ensure that the children who undergo surgery will receive the speech therapy they require in order to maximise their communication skills.

Ever eager to develop cleft services and improve intervention for patients, Triona is embarking on an exciting new venture which aims to develop a speech and language therapy led parent intervention programme. Recognising the impact of current economic constraints on access to therapy, she is exploring new and more effective ways of delivering patient care. This programme of intervention aims to empower and upskill parents to deliver therapy to their pre-school children affected by cleft speech errors. We are sure you will hear more about this project before long.

Please join us in wishing Triona the very best of luck in her new endeavours.

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