Working life: Daragh Connolly, pharmacist

Daragh Connolly, Co Waterford pharmacist and President of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU).


I am very lucky to live in Dungarvan and there’s nothing more invigorating than an early start to walk the dog. I have a choice of harbour, beach or woodland, ideal to shake out the cobwebs.


I live over the pharmacy, so once I’m booted and suited, I open up downstairs. Pharmacy is in the blood – I’m third generation. Helping people get the most out of their medicines is part of what makes me tick. Medicines are complicated and my job is to make sure they are dispensed correctly.


I have a steady stream of customers during the morning, many of whom I’ve known for years. We can have up to four generations of the same family coming in. That’s actually very useful — you build up a bank of knowledge in relation to different families and sometimes ailments you see in a first generation are carried down. It can help when it comes to giving advice.


I bring a customer into the private consultation room to administer the ’flu vaccine. I’ve had the consultation room for the past six years and it’s useful to discuss a complicated medicine in private or contraception options. I use the room three of four times a day and it’s one of the many developments in pharmacy that I’ve seen since qualifying in 1997.


I have lunch in the back of the pharmacy or I pop upstairs for a few minutes.


There’s plenty interaction over-the-counter in the afternoon. At this time of year, it’s less about hayfever and more about gearing up to quit smoking. The majority of the population I serve lives within a few kilometres and the pharmacy is an important resource: dispensing medicines, giving advice on exercise and diet, selling sun protection creams and health and beauty products. This time of year we get a lot of men looking for advice on Christmas presents.


Towards the end of the day, I devote half an hour to checking stock and seeing what needs to be ordered. We stock up to 8,000 medicines at any one time.

I have a full-time pharmacist working with me because I also have union business to attend to two days a week. Evenings are spent catching up with my wife and kids.


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