Public face of SVP, John Monaghan, dies aged 73

Social policy activist Professor John Monaghan has died aged 73

Prof Monaghan was a longstanding member the Society of St Vincent de Paul and the public face of the charity for 15 years.

He is survived by his wife Catherine, his children and grandchildren.

In 2014, Prof Monaghan was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (the highest papal honour that can be bestowed on a layperson) for his work in SVP and promoting social justice issues in Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes describing Prof Monaghan as a passionate advocate for the importance of education and an ethic of care.

"It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Professor John Monaghan," the President said in a statement.

"Throughout his career, Professor Monaghan was a passionate advocate of the importance of education, and an ethic of care. Through his work with the Society of St Vincent de Paul, John Monaghan set a powerful example of practical solidarity and inclusiveness, working to improve the welfare of those most in need.

"His loss will be felt most acutely by his wife Catherine and the members of his family. It is to them, and to all those who had the privilege of knowing and working with John Monaghan, that I send my deepest condolences."

The social justice advocate grew up in Dublin and was Professor of Mechanical Engineering in Trinity College where he was elected Fellow in 1993.

In a statement, SVP National President Kieran Stafford said: "John was a compassionate, non-judgemental and caring person who has influenced and inspired many SVP members.

"I had the privilege of serving with him for 8 years as a trustee of SVP and in that time his calm intelligent counsel aided some very tough decision making.

"He was a truly exceptional member of SVP and has changed so many lives for the better. Every day he used his talents to advocate for Social Justice in our world, my last conversation with him was on that very subject.

"Those of us who had the honour to serve with him will never forget his dedication to help those in need and bring about an end to poverty."

Professor John Monaghan. Pic: SVP
Professor John Monaghan. Pic: SVP

Mr Stafford said he felt Prof Monaghan’s unselfish attitude was summed up in a quote that came from the man himself.

"I believe that over the years I have gained and learned so much more from the people that I have had the privilege of meeting than they have gained from me," Prof Monaghan told the SVP Bulletin in 2014.

"When you see the bravery of people in difficult circumstances, the unseen heroes, thousands of them that we meet every night of the week, they are the people who make it all so important."

Mr Stafford added: "Throughout his active life he was devoted to his own family and the SVP family.

"Our sincere condolences to his wife Catherine, his children and grandchildren."


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