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The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) has welcomed Una O’Farrell, new Regional Official for Northern Ireland, who joins the Organising and Engagement department. Una, a community pharmacist locum who is passionate about pharmacy and pharmacist’s potential, will support PDA members in Northern Ireland, including co-ordinating the Regional Committee members who represent all sectors of pharmacy.

Una will organise members and work with representatives within GP Federations, where the PDA recently reached a voluntary recognition agreement to negotiate pay, holiday, and other terms and conditions for pharmacists. Una replaces Leon O’Hagan, who was instrumental in the Federation recognition discussions, and she will soon work with Paul Maloney, PDA National Officer, and members to develop their pay claim for 2021.

Una aims to build strong PDA networks for pharmacists, students and pre-reg trainees in Northern Ireland.

‘Since qualification,’ said Una, ‘I have nurtured an appreciation of all aspects of pharmacy in the healthcare landscape, and I believe strongly in pharmacists as a unique untapped resource within the health service. The PDA has shown to be responsive and effective in representing both members’ interests and that of the profession holistically, and for this reason, I am delighted to be working with the PDA as Regional Official Northern Ireland.’

The PDA recently affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) which is the recognised national centre for trade unions across the island of Ireland and as the voice of working people, it seeks to achieve a just society – one which recognises the rights of all workers and citizens to enjoy the prosperity and fulfilment which leads to a good quality of life. PDA affiliation provides an opportunity to work collectively with other unions for the benefit of all workers and to champion the issues of PDA members.

‘The pharmacy profession,’ Una continued, ‘has risen to the challenges of the most difficult of times, and during this pandemic, we have proven our role as a valuable link in the healthcare chain. Traditionally in NI, professional representation has been narrow. I believe in fairness and inclusion being fundamental parts of the provision of a quality service. I look forward to representing the views of pharmacists within the ICTU which shapes and influences policy in key areas, such as taxation, employment legislation, education, and social policy. With the experience of the PDA team, I’m listening, and ready to support the professional endeavours of the entire cross-section of members so that collectively we meet our maximum potential.’

Una O’Farrell, Regional Official for Northern Ireland
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