Tralee-based general dentist and committed Gaeilgeoir Dr Marcas Mac Domhnaill gained valuable confidence from IDA membership.
What led you to first get involved in the IDA?
When I returned to Ireland from the UK I wanted to get to know other dentists in the area. I made enquiries about the Kerry Branch and went to a few meetings. In Ireland, practices are smaller and there are not so many opportunities to meet, so meetings are very good socially as well as educationally.
What form did that involvement take?
I volunteered my services to join the Kerry Branch Committee, and then became the Kerry Rep on the IDA’s GP Committee. I was Chair of the Branch for two years, and Treasurer for two years. There was a lot involved in being Chairperson, but I really enjoyed organising venues for meetings and arranging sponsorship. I was able to get back in contact with people I knew from college, etc., to invite them to come and speak. It’s very time-consuming, but I was rewarded by what I gained – both in my organisational skills and personally in gaining the confidence to set up my practice.
What has your involvement in the IDA meant to you?
Many dentists shy away from even attending lectures, but they are losing out professionally and personally. We can get very insular in our own practices, but local branches are great. Chabhraigh sé liom le fhorbairt pearsanta agus gan dabht, tá an oideachas go hiontach chomh maith. (It has helped me in terms of personal development, and of course the educational aspect is brilliant as well.)
What has been the single biggest benefit of IDA membership for you?
The biggest benefit for me has been broadening my horizons. It spurred me on to do a postgraduate diploma in sedation. It was a huge change – after 15 years out of college it was totally different from what I remembered. Everything was brand new to me, and it was brilliant. The year and a half worked wonders for me. You can lose confidence in trying new things after being in practice for a few years, but IDA membership gave me the confidence to get learning again.
How would you like to see the Association progress into the future?
Tá athraithe ollmhóra tagtha ar an slí a riartar léachtaí ón uair a bhíos ar an gcoiste. (There have been significant changes to the way lectures are organised since my time on the Committee.) Everything has to be submitted for accreditation three months in advance, and unfortunately this has led to fewer lectures taking place. It would be great if something could be done to make the process more seamless, particularly for small local branches. Perhaps a pre-approved list of lecturers and lectures could be provided, or more events along the lines of the IDA Roadshows.
It is fantastic to have the standards for accreditation – but the system needs a little tweaking to make it easier for smaller, more remote branches.
Marcas considers himself extremely lucky to live in the West Kerry Gaeltacht, and this is a very important part of his life, as 40% of his patients speak Irish, and he offers dental services as Gaeilge. He also devotes a lot of time to the Chernobyl Children’s charity, and has travelled to Belarus to provide dental services to children in an orphanage there. His commitment to his patients at home and abroad was recognised last year when he was named as the Munster winner of the Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist of the Year. As if that wasn’t enough, he is also a member of two choirs, one as Gaeilge, of course!