Dr. Donnacha O'Connell


Donnacha was appointed to his current position in 1999 having previously studied for his BSc and PhD in the Chemistry Department UCC. After his secondary education at Coláiste Chríost Rí, Donnacha entered UCC in 1985 to study science and graduated four years later with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry. He stayed on at UCC and obtained his PhD working on the chemistry of metallaheteroborane clusters under the supervision of Professor T R Spalding.

Research Interests

PhD Thesis title: Studies of rhodium, platinum and palladium derivatives of some arsena-, carba- and telluraboranes.

Supervisor: Professor T. R. Spalding

UCC Library Thesis Link


  • O’Connell, D, Spalding, T. R. and Ferguson G. Diiodinated derivatives of 1,2-diarsenadecaborane: As2B10H8I2. Acta Cryst. (1991), C47, 492-495.

  • Baghurst, D. R., Copley, R. C. B., Fleischer, H., Mingos, D. M. P., Kyd, G. O., Yellowlees, L. J., Spalding, T. R. and O’Connell, D. Sterically induced low temperature polyhedral rearrangements of carbaplatinaboranes. Synthesis and crystal structures of 1-Ph-3,3-(PMe2Ph)2-312-PtC2B9H10, 1-Ph-3,3-(PMe2Ph)2-3, 1,11-PtC2B9H10, 11-Ph-3,3-(PMe2Ph)2-3, 1,11-PtC2B9H10  and 1,11-Ph2-3,3-(PMe2Ph)2-3, 1,11-PtC2B9H9. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, (1993), 447, C14-C17.

  • Ferguson G., O’Connell, D. and Spalding T. R. A (Phenyldithiocarbamato)rhodatelluraborane Compound; [2-{η2-S2CN(H)Ph}-2-(PPh3)-closo-2, l-RhTeB10H10]. Acta Cryst. (1994), C50, 1432-1434.

  • O’Connell, D., Spalding, T. R., Ferguson, G., Gallagher, J. F. and Kennedy, J. D. The relationship between the molecular structure of [3,3-(PMe2Ph)2-closo-3,1,2-PtC2B9H11] and the mechanism of the fluxional behaviour of M(PR3)2-units in closo-twelve-atom metallaheteroboranes. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, (1995), 503, C12-C15.

  • Ferguson, G., Pollock, J., McEneaney, P. A., O’Connell, D. P., Spalding, T. R., Gallagher, J. F., Macias, R. and Kennedy, J. D. An air-stable, cationic metallacarborane without a charge compensated carborane ligand. Chem. Commun., (1996), 679-681.

  • O’Connell, D., Patterson, J. C., Spalding, T. R., Ferguson, G., Gallagher, J. F., Li, Y., Kennedy, J. D., Macias, R., Thornton-Pett, M. and Holub, J. Conformational polymorphism and fluxional behaviour of M(PR3)2 units in closo-twelve-atom metallaheteroboranes with MX2B9 (X= C or As) and MZB10 cages (Z= S, Se or Te). J. Chem. Soc., Dalton Trans., 1996, 3323-3333.

  • O’Connell, D. and Heffron, J. J. A. Rapid analysis of illicit drugs by mass spectrometry: Results from seizures in Ireland. Analyst, (2000), 125, 119-121.

  • Ferguson, G, Gallagher, J. F., Kennedy, J. D., O’Connell, D. P., Patterson, J. C. and Spalding, T. R. Twisted {(R3P)PdX] groups above dicarbaborane ligands; 4-dimethylsulfido-3-iodo-3-triphenylphosphine-closo-3-pallada-1,2-dicarbadodecarborane and 3-dimethylphenylphosphine-3-chloro-4-dimethylsulfido-closo-3-pallada-1,2-dicarbadodecaborane. Acta Cryst. (2005), C61, m393-m396.


Professional Activity

  • Elected Representative for the Chemistry Departmental Committee
  • Member of the Chemistry Department Safety Advisory Committee
  • University Safety Representative for the University Central Constituency
  • Technical Representative at SEFS College Council
  • Technical Representative on the Faculty of Science
  • Technical Representative on the SIPTU Representative Group (SRG) for the University
  • Member of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland (MICI)
  • European Chemist (EurChem)
  • Fully qualified occupational first aider

Teaching Activity

  • Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Practicals for 2nd years (CM2001, CM2005).
  • Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Practicals for 3rd years (CM3021).


Microwave heating effects and their application to synthetic chemistry. Presented at the 45th Irish Universities Colloquium under the auspices of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland in UCC on May 20th 1993.

Development of an alternative process for the making of an intermediate involved in the synthesis of ketoconazole. Presented at Janssen Headquarters, Beerse, Belgium on February 3rd 1995.

An Introduction to Mass Spectrometry and GC/MS. Presented on November 30th 1995 at UCC as part of the “Laboratory based training course on advanced analytical techniques”.

Chemical analysis of Illicit Drugs. Presented on November 19th 1998 at the Gresham Hotel Dublin as part of the “Science and Technology against Drugs Workshop”.

Chemical analysis of Illicit Drugs. Presented on 18th of May 1999 at the Red Cow Moran Hotel at the AGM of the Irish Mass Spectrometry Society.

Rapid analysis of illicit drugs by mass spectrometry: Results from seizures in Ireland. Presented at the SAC 99 Meeting, DCU, Dublin, July 25-30, 1999.

Liquefaction of Air in the Leaving Certificate Chemistry syllabus. Presented at the 4th Annual BASF Summer School for Chemistry Teachers on June 23rd and June 24th 2015.




Dr. Donnacha O'Connell

Contact Details:


Senior Technical Officer


1994: PhD Chemistry
1989: BSc Chemistry

Work Area:

Inorganic Chemistry



School of Chemistry


University College Cork, College Rd, Cork, Ireland