The judges decided it was time that Mary O’Connell’s loving commitment and dedication to fostering was honoured.
Mrs O’Connell, from Montenotte, was nominated by Professor Anthony Ryan of the Erinville Hospital.
“In addition to all the healthy babies she has fostered, she has also looked after babies with complex medical and social problems,” Professor Ryan said in a glowing tribute which impressed judges.
He said that the grandmother of seven continues to foster young children.
“I believe Mary is an outstanding woman who needs to be acknowledged by this city and her devotion and care for the children is apparent to all that come in contact with her,” added Prof Ryan, who is also Associate Professor in Paediatrics and Child Health at UCC.
A spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive yesterday said fostering was a very rewarding experience and encouraged other people to get involved.
“Fostering is a big commitment but it also has many rewards, when you see a child developing well.
“There are many reasons why children come into care but the circumstances are usually outside their control,” the spokeswoman said.
Mary’s name now goes forward with the other monthly winners for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year, at a Gala Awards lunch on January 27 next at the Rochestown Park Hotel Conference Centre.
President Mary McAleese will be guest of honour at the lunch.