Philip Watt Appointed New CEO of CFAI

09 June 2009

Philip Watt has just been appointed CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI), taking over the position from Godfrey Fletcher, who stepped down recently to set up his own Consultancy Business in Ireland and Texas. 

Philip comes to the CFAI with a strong background in advocacy work on integration, homelessness, poverty, education and health issues.  Most recently he was the Director of the National Consultative Committee on Racism & Interculturalism (NCCRI) from 1998 until 2008. 

Aged 47, Philip was educated at Belfast Royal Academy and is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin (BA Hons History) and postgraduate of the University of Ulster (MSc Social Policy).  Philip was the National Coordinator of the European Year against Racism in Ireland (1997) and in 2003 he was seconded for a year to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to draft the Irish Government's National Action Plan against Racism 2005-2008 ‘Planning for Diversity'.

He is a former President of TCD Students' Union and Chairperson of the NI Council for the Homeless. In 2008 he was awarded the Judges' Prize in Ireland's Media and Multicultural Awards (MAMA Awards) in recognition of his work with NCCRI.

Commenting on his appointment, Philip stated "It is a challenging time for all those concerned with health issues in Ireland and in particular for the members of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland (CFAI).  Ireland has the highest incidence of Cystic Fibrosis in the world. Key priorities for CFAI going forward will be to ensure that specialised facilities are put in place in our hospitals, not just in Dublin, but in key centres around the country. Many of these new developments will be part funded by the fundraising of CFAI and we are looking forward to some key improvements over the next few months. A further pressing priority will be to ensure that the availability of lung transplantation increases significantly for people with CF in Ireland.

It used to mean that children with CF did not survive into secondary school. Thanks to treatment and nutritional advances, the average survival age in Ireland has now increased to the mid-20's and the oldest person with the condition in Ireland is 58. Much more can and needs to be done. There is still no cure for CF and we also urgently need funding for more research.

I look forward to making a difference for people living with CF in Ireland and would ask everyone to support our ‘Buy a Brick campaign' for life saving facilities across Ireland."