Opera singer Celine Byrne has resigned from her role as director of the Irish branch of a Turkish company which specialises in medical tourism.
Ekol International registered as a company in Ireland last year and has been holding roadshow events at four-star hotels to promote bariatric and cosmetic surgeries at its hospital in Izmir.
Ms Byrne, who is one of Ireland’s best-known soprano singers, was appointed as director in July last year and had been advertising package deals for Ekol on Facebook.
She acted as liaison between patients and the hospital, booked flights and helped to organise group trips.
I think patients don’t need to worry about coming to Ekol Hospitals as they get total care and there’s never really a problem
One of the adverts published by Ms Byrne said patients get “obesity surgery”, VIP transfers, four nights in hospital, hotel accommodation for one night, flight tickets, a Virgin Mary tour of Izmir, teeth whitening, all prescribed medication and all the relevant tests and examinations for €3,600.
In a video announcing the incorporation of its Irish company last year, Ms Byrne said: “We have such protection by registering in Ireland now as a limited company.
“I think patients don’t need to worry about coming to Ekol Hospitals as they get total care and there’s never really a problem.
“But I do think for the peace of mind of patients coming over to a foreign country, that they want to somehow feel protected by law – and they are now protected by Irish law travelling abroad.”
A B10 form, which notifies the Companies Registration Office (CRO) of a person’s resignation, was submitted this week. It has not yet been registered by the CRO due to a backlog of applications.
A new director was also appointed two weeks ago, according to documents uploaded to the CRO.
The Irish Independent previously revealed how some patients who complained about their procedures at Ekol were made sign disclaimers by staff at the hospital stating they would not post negative comments about the company on Facebook or take personal injury cases over their experience.
Dozens of people attended Ekol’s most recent roadshow event at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin, where plastic and bariatric surgeons provided free medical consultations to prospective patients over the course of two days.
Ms Byrne and Ekol were contacted for comment.