Photo: Diane Cusack

Cork Profile

Ursula Collins, Regional Manager of South Munster MABS

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

Social service was something I was always drawn to, my father says I developed a social conscience at an early age, partly due to his guidance and seeing the experience of many of my family who worked in Sunbeam.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

I left Cork in the late ‘80s frustrated by the lack of opportunity. I went to London and found people were very willing to promote you if you were committed. I progressed in various health and social care positions into management and came home in 2000. My first job was setting up Employability Cork, a service to support people with disabilities into employment, it’s still going today! I then worked in a number of regional management posts before joining the MABS team in 2018.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

Seeing people happy in their work and providing a quality service to clients.

What motivates you?

Making a positive difference in my community.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

Try not to worry things generally work out okay – the Cold War tensions and threat of nuclear war is the first memory I have of being aware of the fragility of our lives, it weighted heavily on my15 year old self!

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

I always had an interest in herbal medicine and toyed with the idea of training to be a medical herbalist but it wasn’t to be.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

I am very proud of developing the role of dementia advisor when I was with the Alzheimer’s Society, I believe this support had helped families and individuals to cope a little bit better with the challenges of dementia.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

Our President has been a big influence for the last 20 years, his commitment to public service, support for the arts and personal integrity are an ongoing source of inspiration.

What is the life dream now?

To see a positive impact on climate change and of course peace in all countries torn apart by unrest.

How do you switch off?

A good movie or pottering around the garden.

What is your favourite Cork memory?

Coming home in 2000 was very special, the drive from London marked a turning point for my family, returning to our roots.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

Eyeries in West Cork – no matter how far I travel, the drive from Eyeries to Allihies always takes my breath away.

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

From the Dalai Lama – ‘Be kind’.

When are you at your happiest?

In the evening when the days work is done and the family are all content.

What is your hidden talent?

Baking cakes – a talent I discovered during lockdowns!

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I am a keen biker – the type with an engine! My partner Jim and I do a long distance road trip every year, this year it’s Morocco!


Name and position: Ursula Collins, Regional Manager of South Munster MABS

Age: 54

Lives: Maglin

Family: Partner Jim & son Rory

Pets: None

Favourite thing about Cork: Being so close to water, the sea, the rivers and the lakes all provide wonderful views particularly around the city with the centre being an island - love doing a lap of the city centre at lunch time

Least favourite thing about Cork: Dereliction of buildings

One thing you’d change about Cork: Address the dereliction and make unused building available to address much-needed housing of population