01 Oct 2022

'We believe people should have the choice to stay at home. If they make that choice, then they need the best standard of care.'

DAY IN THE LIFE of Brian Egan on changing lanes in the business world with Bluebird Care

Day In The Life Kilkenny

Brian Egan with his family - wife Kathy and children Harry and Luke

Brian Egan grew up in Callan, where he went to both Callan CBS Primary and Secondary School. After secondary school, he went on to do a Law Degree & a Postgrad in Business in Dublin and worked for 15 years there in banking.

In 2009, he returned to Kilkenny and took the opportunity to fulfil a lifetime ambition of setting up his own business. In 2010 he set up Bluebird Care and five years later he was joined by his friend and business partner Eric Delaney.

Bluebird Care is one of the biggest private home carers in Ireland, providing quality home care. Brian’s franchise is Kilkenny, Carlow and Waterford. He is currently taking over the Tipperary franchise.

The highest standard of care and support is given to clients of all ages – children with complex care needs, children and adults with a disability and older people.

When Brian is not busy running a successful team of over 200 staff, he makes time to help coach Evergreen underage soccer. He loves sport of any nature and plays football as well as restarting golf and most importantly family time is key.

Married to Kathy they have two sons Harry (12) and Luke (2). Brian has one of the most inspiring stories that I’ve written, from his family’s surrogacy journey to his recent heath diagnosis.
Here is a glimpse into Brian’s world…

Congratulations Brian, you are 11 years in business, and you have just received an impressive international award.
Yes, we just awarded the winner of Best Large Business for Bluebird Care UK and Ireland from 233 offices, so we are very proud of it.
To be honest with you, I am proud of it for our team. We have 180 plus carers and nurses out in the community delivering the highest standard of care as well as 18 staff in our Nurse-led Office Support Team, so I am proud for them. At the end of the day, it’s nothing to do with me really - it’s down to all of them.

It must feel good to make a difference to people’s lives.
We believe people should have the choice to stay at home. If they make that choice, then they need the best standard of care. We have always worked in partnership with the HSE and their clients and aim to provide the same standard of care that we would expect for our own families.
All the way across the spectrum we care for adults and kids with disabilities. Some people we care for have worked all their lives and might just need someone to come in and help them with basic care needs and make life easier for them.
Fundamentally it must be safe for them; you must make sure your workers are vetted properly with all the right training.
You just want to go out and make a difference, and that’s what our careers and nurses do. They want to simply make people’s lives better and safe at home.

Your background was in banking, so how did you get into home care?
I was in Investment banking in Dublin for 11 years, when the banking world collapsed in 2009. So, I had to make a change.
My wife Kathy and I moved back down to Kilkenny. She took a job as principal of Mooncoin Primary School and I went to work for State Street, who are a great employer in Ireland.
However, I always felt that I needed a change and to try do something myself. My father and brother had set up their own businesses and they are inspirations. So, I thought why not try something new and if it fails, it fails but to give it my best.
Homecare was a big change from banking, but I researched a lot of things. My sister-in-law is a public health nurse and she felt there was a need to keep people at home who needed care and help. There wasn’t a huge amount of private businesses doing it in Kilkenny.

So you invested in Bluebird Care franchise?
Yes, a franchise felt safer instead of going into business alone. I bought into a franchise with redundancy money I had from my banking job.
I always said from day one that we are going to do it right, if we believe in people staying at home – we were going to give them a high standard of care.
It’s great to get the feedback from people now. They are at home where they want to be, and they are happy. They are comfortable in their own home and on their own couch.
It’s not me that keeps them there, it’s our carers and nurses, but at least I am part of it. We have a great team, so please God it will keep going in the right direction.

You are looking to expand that team?
Yes, we are growing the whole time. We currently employ over 190 staff. We are the largest office in Ireland and the second largest office in UK and Ireland.
We are always on the lookout for good people to be part of the team. People who want to feel valued in their workplace with flexible working hours. We work around people’s lifestyle as life is so busy for everyone.
People must work around kids, caring for their own parents or even a hobby. Whatever it is, we’ll try and cater for that the best we can.

You have amazing story about your son Luke’s arrival into the Egan family.
Harry is our oldest and he was born in 2009. We were over the moon and naturally we wanted more children, but it just didn’t go as planned unfortunately.
Kathy had eight miscarriages, she often got as far as 12+ weeks of the pregnancy. As you can imagine it was heartbreaking going into the clinic and hearing the news every time that there was no heartbeat.
There were no scientific answers as to why Kathy couldn’t carry the babies; all the genetic tests came back okay, and all the foetuses were healthy. It came to a stage where we thought it wasn’t meant to be.
So, we started looking at other options, such as adoption, but this is very difficult in Ireland, with not many avenues open to us. We then came across surrogacy and decided to give it a try.
Luke was born through surrogacy in 2019 and he is a mini Harry! The boys idolise each other and are best friends, despite the 10-year age gap.

The big thing for you both was that the whole surrogacy process was done right.
One hundred per cent and that it was good for the surrogate and for our baby. Whatever you do in life, do it right, have high morals and hold your head up high.
We had a brilliant solicitor here in Kilkenny, Annette Hickey, who with her team is an expert in surrogacy law.

Kathy explained beautifully to your son Harry about the arrival of his younger brother.
We wanted to be honest with Harry an involve him but without complicating things. Harry’s first reaction was that the baby wouldn’t look like him, but Kathy had a wonderful way of explaining the process to him.
She explained how it was just like making a cake, where we have all the ingredients in our kitchen, but our oven is broken. So instead we pop next door to bake the cake in our neighbour’s oven.
As it turns out the boys are the stamp of one another and totally idolise each other.

Under current Irish Law your wife Kathy is not legally recognised as Luke’s mother. How is this so?
Yes, this is true, despite Luke being 100% genetically and biologically our baby.
In Ukraine where he was born, we are on the Birth Cert 100% as the parents, but Kathy is not recognised in Ireland which is sad for Kathy and wrong but hopefully will change.

Brian, you have also had a recent healthcare diagnoses that you would like to share to raise awareness.
Yes, I am currently going through treatment for Aggressive prostate cancer. It’s not something you hear a lot about in men of my age (44). I am fit and had no signs at all.
So, I am urging men of all ages to get their PSA bloods levels checked regularly and don’t take anything for granted. The test can be done with your GP.

For more information on Bluebird Care visit or call on 056-7789952

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