Statement of our Governance and Accountability

Once again in recent weeks, the Charity Sector in Ireland has been the focus of much media attention following the revelation of a shocking lack of governance and accountability, abuse of trust and misuse of funds by yet another charity.

Trust, honesty, good governance and accountability are the pillars on which Croi are built. Each and every one of our employees and directors takes their individual and collective responsibilities in this regard very seriously. We have always, and will continue to ensure that we operate to the highest standards of governance and accountability ensuring that all resources received are used for the very purpose they were intended.

In terms of our Governance and Accountability, we would like to inform you of the following:

Croi is a registered Irish Charity and as such is registered in the Register of Charities and in the Companies Office as a company limited by guarantee.

Our financial records are independently audited annually and our audited accounts are filed with the Companies Office.

Our internal financial controls are governed by a financial controller and a finance sub-committee of our Board of Directors. Equally, we have a separate governance sub-committee of the Board.

Croi has adopted and adheres to both the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising and the Governance Code for charities in Ireland.

We publish an annual report in both hardcopy and on our website, which shows how we deploy our resources and which outlines the impact of our work each year

We have a voluntary Board of Directors who meet regularly to oversee the work of our organisation. All directors give freely of their time and expertise in a voluntary capacity and they do not receive any payments or claim any expenses of any kind. The Board is comprised of directors from varied backgrounds, with expertise in among others, business, finance, management, medicine and law. Directors are appointed for a fixed term and their names are listed in our audited accounts, our annual report and on our website.

Croi has an unblemished track record of over 30 years of fundraising and playing a significant role in the fight against heart disease and stroke in the west of Ireland. We rely totally on the support and goodwill of the general public and we are all acutely aware of our responsibility to operate at all times with honesty and integrity.

We hope this information is helpful to you in conveying the emphasis we place on good governance and accountability.

Thank you for your continued support.

Kevin O’Reilly / Neil Johnson

Chairman / Chief Executive

July 25th 2016

Good news for potato lovers!

A review of the research, published earlier this month, has not found an association between intake of potatoes and risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, french fries (i.e. chips) may be associated with an increased risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In Ireland, potatoes are a very popular food source. Unfortunately, some people eat potatoes in the form of greasy french fries or potato chips, and even baked potatoes are somtimes loaded down with fats such as butter, sour cream and melted cheese. But take away the extra fat and deep frying, and a potato is an exceptionally healthful low calorie, high fiber food that offers much nutritional goodness. The key messages when eating potatoes is limit the added fat and watch your portion control.

By; Claire Kerins Cardiac & Weight Management Specialist Dietitian Croi

Read the full report here via The Americian Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

10 Fun and Interesting Potato Facts

  1. 1580 – the year potatoes were introduced to Ireland
  2. China is the number 1 potato producing country in the world
  3. The potato was the first vegetable grown in space in 1995
  4. 2008 was the UN International Year of the Potato
  5. The average annual potato consumption in Ireland is 85kg per person – compared to just 33kg per person per annum worldwide!
  6. Ireland produced 382,000 tonnes of potatoes in 2013
  7. The Rooster is the most planted main crop potato variety, accounting for 60% of all plantings and retail sales
  8. There are now 540 potato growers in Ireland
  9. 1801 – the year French fries were first served in the USA
  10. 1853 – the year the potato crisp was invented

(via BordBia, 2014)

Learn what a Heart Attack feels like – It could save your Life!

"We are encouraging everyone to learn the main signs and symptoms of heart attack and to take immediate action by phoning 999 or 112 for an ambulance, if you suspect that you, or a family member may be having a heart attack. All too often, people wait too long to take appropriate action; which can limit treatment options, increase risk of complications following heart attack, and unfortunately, in too many cases, individuals die at home before they seek help.”Irene Gibson, Director of Programs, Croi Heart and Stroke Charity

A heart attack occurs when there is a sudden complete blockage of a coronary artery (the arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle). This can happen when the plaque, a fat like substance which builds up in the lining of these blood vessels eventually ruptures or tears and a blood clot is formed, which blocks a narrowed section of the coronary artery. The clot stops blood from flowing to that area of heart muscle. As a result, this area of heart muscle will not receive any blood supply and oxygen and therefore will become damaged.

For more information on this plaque build up and cholesterol management you can download our booklet here Croí Cholesterol Booklet

With Heart Attack, minutes matter, so the key message is ‘Know the Signs of Heart Attack and Take Immediate Action by calling 999 or 112’.

What is a Stroke

Stroke is the second leading cause of disability, after dementia. Disability may include loss of vision and / or speech, paralysis and confusion. Globally, stroke is the second leading cause of death above the age of 60 years, and the fifth leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 59 years old.

Stroke is less common in people under 40 years, although it does happen. In young people the most common causes are high blood pressure or sickle cell disease. In many developed countries the incidence of stroke is declining even though the actual number of strokes is increasing because of the ageing population. In the developing world, however, the incidence of stroke is increasing. In China, 1.3 million people have a stroke each year and 75% live with varying degrees of disability as a result of stroke. The predictions for the next two decades suggest a tripling in stroke mortality in Latin America, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.

What happens in a stroke?

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. The loss of blood to the brain means a loss of oxygen and the brains cells become injured and die. A stroke can kill or leave you with a permanent disability.

What is a TIA?

In a transient ischemic attack (TIA) there is a temporary interruption in the blood flow to a part of the brain. Most TIAs last only a few minutes. The warning signs of a TIA are the same as the warning signs of a stroke. TIAs are sometimes referred to as "warning strokes" as they may be an indication that a full, far more serious stroke is about the happen.

What is a stroke?

Ischemic stroke is accountable for 80% of all strokes. During an ischemic stroke the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain is blocked. This usually happens because of blood clots in an artery to the brain or a narrowing of the arteries (carotid stenosis) blocking or impeding the blood flow. In a hemorrhagic stroke, an artery in the brain bursts. There are two main types of hemorrhagic stroke. An intracerebral hemorrhage happens when a blood vessel in the brain leaks blood into the brain. A subarachnoid hemorrhage happens when there is bleeding under the outer membranes of the brain and into the thin fluid–filled space that surrounds the brain. This type of hemorrhage can cause extensive damage to the brain and is the most lethal of all strokes.

Knowing the warning signs of stroke and seeking immediate medical help can improve the outcome of the stroke. The symptoms of stroke appear suddenly and often there is more than one symptom at the same time. All strokes happen FAST.

The warning signs of stroke are:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs.

Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others.

Sudden loss of vision in half the visual field.

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination.

Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

The above information is gathered from the World Heart Federation

Marathon in memory of Michelle Dundass

Marathon in memory of Michelle Dundass

Peadar McSharry took on the hills of Burren Co. Clare to run the 2016 Burren Marathon in memory of Michelle Dundass, Kylesalia, KIlkerrin, Connemara, Co. Galway who passed away suddenly 13th March 2016 in London. Peadar along with his family and friends raised €1,938.94 and are pictured presenting a cheque to Croi Heart and Stroke Charity. Michelle’s family would like to thank all who donated.

Pic (L TO R) Mary Anne Canavan (Michelle's aunt), Peadar McSherry (The runner and cousin), Aoibhe McSherry (6), PJ Dundass (Michelle's brother), Bobby Dundass (Michelle's mother), Mairead McSherry (Michelle's cousin), Edwina Treacy Fundraising & Events Manager Croí.

Fish recipe – Haddock in Jacket Potato



4 baking potatoes, scrubbed and pricked with a fork

450g/1lb smoked haddock

200ml/7 fl oz low fat milk

75-90ml/5-6 tblspns low fat plain yoghurt

10-15ml/2-3 tspns lemon juice

30ml/2 tblspns chopped fresh chives

15ml/1 tblspn chopped fresh parsley

Salad to serve


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Bake the potatoes for 1½ hours until tender. Meanwhile, put the fish in a baking dish, pour over the milk, cover with greaseproof paper and cook on the bottom shelf in the oven for about 8 minutes until flesh flakes. Drain the fish, reserving the milk. Flake the flesh finely, discarding the skin and bones and season with lemon juice and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt, chives, parsley and pepper. Cut a slice from the top of each potato. Scoop out most of the insides of the potatoes into a bowl, taking care not to pierce the skins. Mash the potato insides with the reserved milk, add pepper to taste, then mix in the flaked fish. Spoon the fish mixture back into the potato skins and spoon half the yoghurt over the top. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes. Pour over the remaining yoghurt. Serve with salad.

To find out more about Croí Cardiac Health & Lifestyle Programmes, please call Croí on 091-544310.

Croi Braveheart Lotto helping local athletic club fundraise.

Croi Braveheart Lotto helping local athletic club fundraise.

Craughwell Athletic received a cheque for €3,120 from Croi Bravehearts Lotto to go toward developing the athletic track at Craughwell in June 2016. The BraveHearts Lotto is an innovative fundraising initiative delivered by Croí. The unique aspect of the lotto is the fact that supporters receive a weekly wellness and healthy lifestyle e-zine. Croi are matching our club needs to raise funds with the core mission of enabling people to live healthier, longer and happier lives.

Pictured Croí's Kieran Browne presenting a cheque for €3,120 to Club Chairperson Marion McEvilly
with Fundraising Coordinator Tracy Moran and Facility Development Officer Mike Tobin

Are fad diets safe?

So much is said about losing weight that sometimes it can be hard to sort fact from fiction.There is no shortage of novelty diet programmes promising speedy weight loss, however fad diets can cause physical discomfort, damage our health and can also be monotonous making them difficult to stick to.

Most diets, no matter how wacky, that provide a set of rules and encourage people to eat fewer calories than they need, will result in weight loss. But are fad diets healthy, can they be maintained and do they help people keep the weight off?

Low-carbohydrate diets can be high in fat

Some diets, such as the Atkins diet, are very low in starchy carbohydrates (pasta, bread, potatoes and rice) which are an essential source of energy. While you may lose weight on these types of diets, they are often high in protein and fat and can cause side effects such as bad breath, headaches and constipation. Many low-carbohydrate diets allow you to eat foods high in saturated fat, such as butter, cheese and meat. Too much saturated fat can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Detox diets are not effective

Detox diets are generallyrestrictive and difficult to stick to, as they usually involve the avoidance of foods or food groups including wheat, dairy and alcohol as well as all processed foods. These diets are characteristically low in calories which can lead to side effects such as feeling tired, headaches, light-headedness and nausea.While weight loss experiencedon a detox diet maybe very rapid, it is frequently regained soon after returning to normal eating patterns.Moreover, they canbe dangerous if followed for a long period as they can be lacking in essential nutrients.Healthy eating is about choosing a variety of foods from all the different food groups!

Fad diets are often far-fetched

Some fad diets are based on eating a single type of food, such as cabbage soup or raw foods, while others make far-fetched claims that you should cut out certain foods based on your blood type. Often, there is little or no evidence to back these claimsup. These dietscan be difficult to keep to in the long term and if followed over long periods, they can be very unbalanced and bad for your health. You may lose weight in the short term, but it’s muchmore advisableto lose weight gradually and to be healthy.

Croí have developed a dietitian-led weight management course, which takes a holistic approach to managing you weight, andis based on best practice in dietary advice.It provides participants with expert guidance on all aspects of healthy eating, exploring issues such as your relationship with food; understanding food labels and controlling portion sizes.

To find out more about Croí Cardiac Health & Lifestyle Programmes, please call Croí on 091-544310.

Women advised to get cholesterol and blood pressure checked


On a recent visit to my GP with my young daughter, I was advised to make an appointment to have my cholesterol and blood pressure checked. As a 42 year old woman, should I be concerned about my risk of heart disease and stroke?


You are never too young when it comes to looking after your heart. In the past heart disease was very much considered ‘a man’s disease’ – but unfortunately cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 2 deaths among Irish women each year. That’s an average of one woman every two hours.

As a woman, your hormones may give you some protection against heart disease and stroke in your pre-menopause years. However once you reach the menopause, your risk significantly increases and continues to increase as you get older. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by as much as 20 percent.

Like most women, you probably make everything and everyone a priority, but your heart health should also be a priority. It is extremely important to have your cholesterol and blood pressure measured on a regular basis as part of an overall assessment of your cardiovascular risk. While the risk factors are the same for both men and women, some risks have more of a negative influence on women. For example:

  • Smoking has a 25% greater impact on women developing heart disease;
  • Diabetes is a stronger risk factor for heart disease in women;
  • Menopause is associated with an increase in total and LDL cholesterol and a decline in HDL levels;
  • and a positive family history is a stronger risk factor for women.

Women experience different symptoms of heart attack than men, which unfortunately means many women go undiagnosed and delay longer than men in seeking medical care.

The signs and symptoms to watch for include:

  • shortness of breath
  • nausea/vomiting
  • back or jaw pain
  • dizziness
  • light-headedness
  • fainting
  • sharp pains between the shoulder blades or the back
  • extreme fatigue

If you experience any of these symptoms dial 999 immediately do not delay. For more information on healthy heart tips visit

New equipment for Roscommon General Hospital

New equipment for Roscommon General Hospital

Madeline Brennan took to the stage as Dolly Parton to raise funds for Croi Heart and Stroke Centre in a recent Monster Fundraiser in Roscommon. Madeline bravely took singing lessons for the big night which proved very successful for the not so 9 to 5 star!

The funds raised were used by Croí to purchase equipment for Roscommon County Hospital. A Dynamap was purchased for blood pressure monitoring in the Cardiac Rehabilitation unit and Stroke Care service, and for use in screening days throughout the hospital. A Rhythm Simulator was also purchased and is being used by the resuscitation officer as a teaching aid in ACLS training and preparation, BLS and ECG training.

A big Thank you to Madeline from all at Croí and Roscommon County Hospital.