Claremorris native appointed new chief executive of Sightsavers Ireland

Sightsavers Ireland has announced the appointment of Michael Marren from Claremorris as its new chief executive. Michael will replace John Fleming who has taken up a new position with the Rehab Group following 10 years with the organisation. Michael has served as head of operations of Sightsavers Ireland for the past two years and will bring a wealth of commercial and management experience to the role, having previously spent many years in the financial sector. Michael is a passionate advocate for equal opportunities for people with disabilities and is committed to seeking support for fledgling states to establish and develop their health systems in order to tackle the causes of preventable blindness in the developing world, while continuing the organisation’s strong support for post-conflict countries, particularly in Africa.

Speaking about the appointment, Sightsavers chairman Pat Farrell said: “Firstly, we express our sincere gratitude to John for his tireless efforts in building support and vital partnerships for the organisation and establishing Sightsavers as one of the leading international charities in Ireland. Sightsavers has within its grasp the potential to eliminate the terrible diseases of river blindness and trachoma within a short number of years. Michael has the innate skills and talents to lead this charge here in Ireland and is an invaluable asset to the team. He brings to the role diverse experience and an in-depth knowledge of our work and strategic vision. We are looking forward to a successful new chapter for Sightsavers Ireland with Michael at the helm.”

Sightsavers works in over 30 developing countries worldwide to eliminate avoidable blindness and to promote equal opportunity for disabled people. Last year alone, the generosity of Irish donors contributed to protecting 35 million people against river blindness, treating 12 million people for trachoma and supporting more than 205,000 sight-restoring cataract operations. Sightsavers Ireland is currently working to eliminate river blindness and is engaged in many educational endeavours. They recently hosted a trip to Cameroon where the 250 millionth treatment of river blindness was completed in partnership with the pharmaceutical company Merck, which donates the drug free of charge. Since its establishment in 2002, Sightsavers Ireland has been supported by the generosity of over 100,000 donors and its vital partnership with Irish Aid.

A native of Claremorris, Co Mayo, Michael is married with three children. Michael had a long successful career in the financial sector, working with AIB across many different areas of the business. He has previously been chairman of WESTBIC, the Business Innovation Centre for the West of Ireland, Midland and Border Counties and bi-centenary president of the Past Pupils Union of St Jarlath’s College, Tuam. He is a member of the Sustainable Peace Network which promotes lasting peace within and between communities in Northern Ireland and is himself a volunteer in the community sector.

For more information on Sightsavers Ireland’s vital work, visit


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