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Jonathan Irwin Event 13th October 2015

Posted: 16 October, 2015

Jonathan Irwin,Founder & CEO Jack & Jill Foundation, speaking to Postgraduate students and staff at the recent 'Leaders in Entrepreneurship' series event in the College of Business, DIT.

Jonathan Irwin, Dr. Phil Hanlon,and Paul O'Sullivan following Jonathan's engaging presentation to students and staff on his entrepreneurial experience recently.

Jonathan spoke of his entrepreneurial journey spanning a diverse range of business activities.  The themes of innovation and meeting challenges head on resonated in his speech.  In his 20’s he was a Director of the British Bloodstock Agency (Ireland) ltd.  This acted as preparation for his next challenging role as Managing Director of Goffs where he took the organisation from the brink of bankruptcy to its position as a world class business today. 

He was Chief Executive of the Phoenix Park Racecourse from 1981 – 1990 and in that time it was unique in the world in that every single one of the 120 races run annually at the track were sponsored.

However he pointed out that all his previous challenges and achievements are unrivalled compared to his current role as Founder & CEO of the Jack & Jill Foundation.  The Foundation was born out of adversity when Jonathan and his wife Mary Ann’s son Jack died age 22 months.   Jonathan decided that no other family should have to endure the harrowing experience of managing a very sick child with very little support and thus Jack & Jill was born. 

Since its inception in 1997 The Foundation has supported over 1900 children with a unique service that includes financing of practical home nursing care, home visits by one of its liaison nurses, practical advice on caring for the child, listening to the family and making representations on their behalf to the government and HSE.  Jack & Jill, spearheaded by Jonathan’s relentless fundraising ability, has raised over €60 million since 1997 while only receiving €6 million from the State.


Jonathon was simply outstanding and many of us will remember for a long time the passion and conviction he shared with us in relation to his extraordinary journey.