I had the great privilege of working with John Monaghan at National Management Council level for over ten years. We were colleagues during a period of significant change within the Society. I am deeply saddened by John’s untimely death and we have lost a person of the highest integrity, a person who gave superb leadership and who never shirked a challenge. For me there are three stand out memories of John. The first and probably most important is the way in which John handled his illness which was difficult, prolonged and at times it was obvious he was suffering a lot. Yet through all of this he remained optimistic, calm and totally focussed on the various activities he was still involved in. He spoke about his illness in a light hearted manner and referred to ‘those bugs that we need to shoot but we need to shoot the right ones’! I have no doubt that John’s approach to his illness was driven by a strong faith which saw him through some very difficult days. In speaking to him over the past couple of years he would always give a prognosis on his illness that was brief and to the point, he then wanted to talk about what I was doing and how the Society was doing. It was never about him or any form of self pity. The second memory relates to the commitment of John to the Society and the work of National Management Council. His output of work was simply colossal. When I became National President, our National Management Council agreed significant and far reaching changes across the Society. John played a key role in getting the various changes approved. He had this unique ability of being able to see what might work and when to change the approach to achieve the maximum possible. During a very difficult period John was a rock of common sense and support. On many occasions I received emails from him urging me to push on with the changes, other times it was emails with solid advice as to the approach to take on different issues … many of these coming from Trinity at six a.m.! I have no doubt that without the work of John we would not have got all of our changes through, John’s standing nationally carried huge weight with our Membership across the country. The third area which is well documented is John’ s involvement on behalf of the Society in Social Justice. He was the public face of the Society and was respected for his views at all levels, whether it be Members, politicians and the various agencies that he dealt with. Even after retiring from his National role due to illness he still retained his deep interest in all aspects of social justice. During last year John was working with me on a draft of a possible statement on Social Justice that could be published at International level. It would be a fitting tribute to John if the Social Justice agenda is kept strong going forward, both Nationally and Internationally.
John Monaghan R.I.P By Geoff Meagher National President 2012/2017
John Monaghan lived a full life. He will be sadly missed by the Society. I have lost a great colleague and friend. Our loss however cannot be measured compared to the loss to his family, to Catherine and his children, Ciara, Conor and Cathriona we extend our deepest sympathies and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this most difficult time.
The Ozanam Bulletin | 11