News for Public

Emerging INDI CPD Event 2022

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We are delighted to bring you this CPD event in association with the Emerging INDI.  Hear from dietetic colleagues in a wide range of roles, sharing their CPD journeys and lots of tips to help you complete your CPD portfolio in advance of CORU audit at the end of this year.

This event is free of charge for all INDI members and students. Cost of €25 for non-members. (Non-members will be contacted by the INDI office for payment once registered).

Click on the link below to register:


**NEW** Coeliac Disease Course - In Person

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Sarah Keogh

Registered Dietitian

Coeliac Society of Ireland


Mairead O'Meara

Registered Dietitian



Tracy Fenlon

Patient Representative

Living with Coeliac Disease




COST €25 


Learning Outcomes

  • An introduction to Coeliac Disease
  • Coeliac disease and the Gluten Free Diet
  • Diagnosis, non-classic symptoms, cross contamination, food labelling, common mistakes.
  • Living with Coeliac Disease
  • A patients’ perspective
  • Nutrition in Coeliac Disease
  • Key nutrients, supplements, annual testing, refractory coeliac disease.
  • Coeliac Disease in Children
  • Training course includes paediatric guidelines for coeliac disease; presentation & diagnosis in children, micronutrients, managing compliance in children & teens, monitoring children with coeliac disease.


The risks of weight loss during cancer

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Cancer patients with obesity advised not to lose muscle during treatment 

Cancer treatment ‘not the time’ to lose weight or muscle 

Half of adults are unclear about whether nutrition makes a difference during cancer care, and 60% don’t know that losing weight or muscle during treatment carries risk, including for patients who are overweight or obese.

A RED C survey commissioned by theIrish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (IrSPEN), on a representative sample of 1,000 adults, found concerning levels of misinformation and misunderstanding around the importance of nutritional status during cancer care, despite the fact that one in two of us will develop cancer.

The research found:

  • More than half of people (56%) are not clear on the importance of nutritional care during cancer treatment, with one in four thinking that good nutritional intake was not crucial
  • 28% of people incorrectly believed that if a person is overweight or obese, losing weight is a positive side effect of cancer with a further 32% unsure
  • A majority (53%) were not clear that maintaining muscle mass and strength is important for patients undergoing treatment for cancer
  • 36% of people incorrectly believed or were unsure that overweight cancer patients would be ‘unlikely’ to require nutritional care (screening, advice, monitoring and access to dietitians).

IrSPEN spokesperson and Obesity Specialist at St Vincent’s University Hospital Professor Carel le Roux said current medical research shows that maintaining good nutritional health, body weight and muscle mass during cancer care significantly improves medical outcomes – including for people with overweight or obesity.

“Losing weight without trying and losing muscle mass are common problems in cancer – affecting at least one in three of patients. Contrary to what people seem to think weight and muscle loss are unhelpful at the time of treatment – whether people are under or overweight – making treatment less effective and increasing the risks of complications.

“From the time of diagnosis and during active treatment, the goal is to minimise weight change, preserve muscle mass and maintain body strength.”  

“It is of concern that the RED C survey shows that patients with obesity may be particularly at risk of not receiving the care they need due to a misconception that losing body mass is a positive side-effect of cancer.”

Professor Le Roux said that this is important for many people, as 40-60% of cancer patients are overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis. 

“Before or during active treatment is not the time for weight loss, including for people with obesity, as it may negatively impact the patient’s response to treatments and make them more susceptible to complications that can result in having to delay further treatment, which can affect overall survival. There is a time for achieving weight loss in patients with obesity, but this is not while undergoing cancer treatment.

“As clinicians we need to pay greater attention to relatively modest changes in body weight and muscle mass, since the earlier we can catch it, the more effective we can be in preventing cancer related malnutrition.

IrSPEN President and Consultant Gastrointestinal Surgeon Professor John Reynolds said there is a need to dispel the myth that weight loss and deterioration in nutritional status is an inevitable consequence of cancer and its treatments.

“High quality cancer care would benefit from a greater focus on the patient’s nutritional status, which is why IrSPEN continues to push for more specialised dietitians in cancer care and mandatory routine nutrition screening for outpatients receiving cancer treatments, not just inpatients. 

“It important to understand that weight loss and malnutrition are not inevitable or something that can be dealt with after treatment. An important pillar of cancer care is to keep the patient in the best possible condition to benefit from the advances we have seen in treatments.” 

Specialist Oncology Dietitian, Veronica McSharry, said that by the time many cancer patients are referred to her for help, they are already severely malnourished.

“Failure to address nutritional deterioration in cancer, including in those who are overweight, puts the patient at risk of poor tolerance to chemotherapy, increased complications in surgery and increased need for hospital inpatient care. 

“We would like all patients to be screened for signs of developing malnutrition at every hospital outpatient visit and treatment setting, so that we can intervene early with patients who are unable to eat enough to maintain their weight and muscle mass.”

Ms. McSharry said that once cancer patients’ nutritional needs have been identified they can be addressed effectively.

We can advise on changes to make to dietary patterns, provide treatments for digestive issues, incorporate extra protein or nutrients into foods or recipes, or prescribe protein and energy supplements for those who cannot manage to eat enough. Tube feeding or even intravenous feeding options are available for patients with more complicated issues. Nutritional problems can be challenging but can be addressed. 

“We need greater awareness not only among people suffering from cancer and their families, but also those involved in providing cancer care that addressing nutrition problems will benefit the patient.

“The message for all cancer patients irrespective of their weight is – if you are unable to maintain your weight and experiencing noticeable loss of muscle, seek advice from your care team and / or request a referral to a Dietitian and the earlier the better.”



Further Information

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731 /

About IrSPEN

The Irish Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (IrSPEN) is a multi-disciplinary professional organisation dedicated to optimising screening for and management of those at risk of malnutrition or other nutritional problems in Ireland, whether in hospital or in the community.

Founded in 2010 with the support of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology (ISG), the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) and the Irish Section of the Nutrition Society, IrSPEN members are clinicians, dietitians, nutritionists and other health professionals from clinical practice, research and education. Together our aim is to combat malnutrition by optimising the nutritional management of patients in hospital and the community.


Early morning myth-busting around Diet and Cancer

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A recent survey of over 1000 Irish cancer survivors reported more than half (56%) felt confused by nutrition information available in the media and offered by people around them¹. Almost 4 in 10 (37%) were following, or had tried, alternative diets from restricting certain foods to herbal remedies, juicing or detoxes, and 3 in 10 (32%) reported avoiding specific foods like processed meat or dairy¹.

INDI Communications Manager appeared on IrelandAM this morning with Dr David Robert Grimes to discuss misinformation around diet and cancer. Click on the link below to watch back. 

In response to the lack of scientific based information available to cancer patients and the general public interested in the link between diet and cancer, and the sometimes-dangerous alternative diets that people experiment with, Breakthrough Cancer Research and University College Cork have published a new booklet that delves into ‘The Truth Behind Food and Cancer which was released today at the Irish Association for Cancer Research annual conference.

Written and compiled by senior cancer/oncology dietitians Dr. Aoife Ryan, UCC, and Clodagh Scannell RD, along with consultant medical oncologist Dr Derek Power and research nutritionist Michelle Hanna BSc, UCC, it provides accurate information on fad diets that have not yet been proven to be safe or effective in the prevention or treatment of cancer.  It exposes the most common myths and misconceptions around the links between food and cancer, and offers simple explanations and advice based on medical evidence.

Click on the link below to download the booklet

Dietitians Added to Critical Skills Occupation List (Oct 2021)

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This information has been prepared by the INDI to make you aware of the fact that “dietitians” are now listed on Critical Skills Occupation List on the Dept of Enterprise, Trade and Employment website Critical Skills Occupations List - DETE (


This makes the recruitment process easier than previously when employing a dietitian who 

  1. Qualified as a dietitian outside of Ireland and/or 
  2. Requires a work permit and entry visa to work in Ireland.  (this may include a dietitian who qualified as a dietitian in Ireland as an international student, but who is a non EU citizen)


Step 1 

The applicant must be fully registered as a dietitian by CORU prior to proceeding any further in the recruitment process. If the person did not undertake the Irish dietetics courses, then they will have to undergo the 2 step process- 1) recognition of qualifications by the Dietitian Registration Board of CORU and 2) the CORU dietitian registration process. See  for more information. 


Step 2 

If a person is being offered a post as dietitian, and they are registered as a dietitian with the dietitian registration board of CORU, and if they require an Employment Permit to Work in the Ireland then see the following website for more information on employment permits HERE 


There is a step by step guide on the process for submitting an OnLine Employment Permit application at  Application may be submitted by the employer or the employee. However, if your employer has Trusted Partner Registration, then the employer must submit the employment permit application. You may contact your HR department for them to lead this process as the employer. If employer does not have Trusted Partner Status then a Standard Application would need to be submitted. 



  • the permit process should be submitted fully within 28 days or the paused application is deleted from the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). 
  • The permit process should be undertaken about 12 weeks before the start date. As of mid October 2021, the permit applications for July 1 2021 are being processed, so about a 12 week backlog
  • passport details of the candidate are required (Passport must be 6 months in date at time of new application being submitted). 
  • a contract of employment signed by the employing organisation and the employee must be included in the application 
  • the duration of the contract must be a minimum of 2 years when applying for a Critical Skills Employment Permit. 
  • Ensure the signature pages of the application are submitted with application (check Workid number matches application form) 


Step 3 

  • When the above has been completed and employment permit has issued, then the requirement for applying for an entry visa should be undertaken (if applicable). See below for more information

Step 4 

·         On arrival into Ireland Non-EEA Nationals must register with the Irish Immigration Service see following link for more information Coming to work in Ireland - Immigration Service Delivery (


Apply for a Visa

Visa Requirements to Enter ireland

**Many thanks to Dietitian Manager Mary McKiernan for all her work on this important issue

Dietitians' Top Tips for Back to School

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By Ashley Welch, Irish Examiner Monday August 23rd 2021

Back to school can be a stressful time for both kids and parents alike. There’s shopping for school supplies, getting back into a normal bedtime routine, and dealing with first-day-of-school nerves.

For parents, there’s the added stress of packing school lunches that are not only nutritious but appealing for their kids to eat. With the onslaught of picture-perfect bento-style lunchboxes taking over Instagram these days, experts say parents are feeling the pressure more than ever.

“You go online and you see these beautifully presented, colourful and curated lunchboxes,” says Caroline O’Connor, registered paediatric dietitian, mum of four, and founder of Solid Start. 

“That puts a huge amount of pressure on parents and for most people, that’s just not realistic.” 

Her advice? Relax and keep it simple. “How your child’s lunch box looks is not a reflection of your parenting skills,” she says. “Every child is different and every family is different. Some children eat a wider variety of food and it may look like their parents put more effort into their lunch boxes. But a 'boring' school lunch is okay, too.” 

Here are dietitian-approved tips for packing the best school lunches for your children.

Focus on food groups 

When preparing a lunch box, experts recommend making sure each of the following food groups are represented.


“These are the energy foods like bread, wraps, crackers, pasta, and rice cakes,” says Blaithin O’Neill, clinical lead dietitian at Spectrum Nutrition. “When you’re thinking of putting a lunch box together, I’d recommend first deciding what your carb source is going to be.” 

If you’re going for bread, whole grain is preferable. “But if your child doesn’t eat whole grain bread, that’s okay, too,” O’Connor says.


Next, you’ll want to include a protein source. “Protein is very important for children for growth,” O’Neill says.

Chicken, beef, fish, cheese, eggs, falafels, and hummus are good sources of protein.

“These can be put in a sandwich or eaten separately,” O’Connor says. “Some children will eat a sandwich and others won’t.” 

If the latter sounds like your child, a bento-style lunch box with separate compartments for different foods can be a great option, she says.

Fruit and vegetables

Finish off your child’s lunch box with a bottle of water and some fresh produce. This can be anything from cucumber, carrot sticks, or peppers to bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, or kiwi. There are endless options to choose from but you know your little ones best so pack what they like.

“If you get these three fundamentals down, then you’ve got yourself a balanced lunch,” O’Neill says.

Also be sure to follow your school’s healthy eating policy and check for policies on nut butters and other allergens.

“Apart from that keep it simple,” advises Cathy Monaghan, a senior paediatric dietitian, mum of three, and founder of “It won’t all be eaten, and there is no need to complicate things in the hope of it being eaten. Provide the main foods groups and leave it at that.” 

Always include food you know your child will eat 

While it’s perfectly fine to be adventurous sometimes, experts advise mainly sticking to what your kids know when packing a lunch box.

“You don’t want your child to open their lunch box and be shocked by what they see,” O’Connor says. “It’s okay to experiment with new foods and put things in that your child doesn’t necessarily eat from time to time, but most of the food in your child’s lunch box should be food that is familiar to them and that you know they would eat.” 

This is especially important for fussy eaters. “Make sure there are foods in a decent portion that they could and would eat if they were hungry,” O’Connor says.

Tips for fussy eaters 

Fussy eating is common among kids, so if your child is suddenly refusing to eat food they once enjoyed, don’t panic.

“The most important thing is not to react to it or make a big deal about it,” O’Neill says. “Usually it doesn’t make that much of a difference if they don’t eat a tomato or another fruit at school. They probably eat a balanced diet anyway.” 

She also recommends continuing to pack that item in their lunch box. “It doesn’t have to be every day, but continue to offer it to them because if we don’t, the child has no other opportunity to eat it,” O’Neill says.

Next, instead of dwelling on what’s not being eaten, pay close attention to what your child is eating.

“We always think about what children don’t eat, but make a list of everything your child does eat,” O’Connor says. “Then use that list as a basis for your lunches.” 

From there, try to create variety as much as possible. “You can do this even within the same food group,” O’Connor says. “Even if it’s just having different types of sliced pan bread or sometimes cutting the bread in a different shape. That helps children to become more adventurous.” 

Finally, don’t compare your child to other kids who eat all their food. “It’s very easy to do, but a lot of times parents of fussy eaters think they’re on their own but it’s so common and the vast majority of children will grow out of it,” O’Neill says.

Remember: the lunch box is not the be all and end all 

 Parents may get anxious when their kid’s lunch box comes back with its contents uneaten, but usually there is no need to worry.

“This is a common occurrence and is to be expected,” Monaghan says. “Often it has nothing to do with the food. Children have less time to eat than ever.” 

Experts say it’s important to keep lunch in perspective.

“Your child’s whole day of nutrition does not rest on what they eat during those few hours at school,” O’Connor says. “If they don’t eat a lot at school they can make up for it when they come home and have a bigger after school snack.”

For more details on portion size for children check out FSAI