U2’s former music teacher lands a top gig as kidney association chief

by Sylvia Pownall
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U2’s former school music teacher has hit a high note with his appointment as head of the Irish Kidney Association (IKA).

Colin McKenzie, an accomplished musician and keen artist from Portmarnock, was last week announced as the new national honorary chairman of the association.

Dad-of-two Colin first became involved with the IKA in 1999 when his wife Patricia, also a musician, was diagnosed with kidney failure.

She progressed to dialysis which she underwent for eight and a half years before undergoing a kidney transplant in 2007.

Taking up his appointment, Colin said: “One of the Irish Kidney Association’s strengths is that national officers, board directors and all members of its 25 branches nationwide work for the organisation on a voluntary basis.

“Our objective is simple – to give all kidney patients the best support we can offer by advocating for the best possible treatment and care they can receive.

“Another important objective is the promotion of organ donation for transplantation. I look forward to working towards these goals for the next two years.”

Music graduate Colin studied music with UCD and the Royal Irish Academy of Music and holds diplomas from Trinity College, London and the London College of Music.

The retired school assistant principal ran a music department at Mount Temple School and can boast members of U2 among his students.

He also taught singer/songwriter Damien Dempsey and Whitbread Book Prize author and poet Christopher Nolan, who wrote about Colin in his award-winning book, Under the Eye of the Clock.

He has represented the Irish Kidney Association at the European Kidney Patient Federation in Brussels, Madrid and Amsterdam.

Colin and his wife Patricia have also co-produced several musicals, including The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, Oklahoma, South Pacific and The Beggar’s Opera.

The Irish Kidney Association has more than 3,000 members and 25 branches nationwide, providing support to all kidney patients, their families and carers.

The organisation is charged with the promotion and distribution of the organ donor card in Ireland, and, as part of this role, coordinates organ donor awareness activities on behalf of Organ Donation Transplant Ireland.

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