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22 June 2024  

NUI Honorary Conferring Ceremony - RCPI  1st December 2016



Thursday 1st December 2016 4.30 p.m., – Royal College of Physicians in Ireland

Cuireadh Searmanas Bronnta Oinigh 2016 Ollscoil na hÉireann ar siúl ag a 4.30 i.n. ar an 1 Nollaig i Halla Uí Chorragáin i gColáiste Ríoga Lianna na hÉireann. Bhronn an Seansailéir, an Dr Muiris Ó Mainnín, Céimeanna Oinigh ar na daoine seo a leanas:

The National University of Ireland Honorary Conferring Ceremony 2016 took place at 4:30p.m., on the 1st of December in the Corrigan Hall of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

The Chancellor of the University, Dr Maurice Manning, conferred Honorary Degrees on the following individuals:

Brian Bourke for his contribution through painting to Irish culture, D.F.A.
Dr Rhona Mahony for her contribution to public health and specifically to healthcare for women and infants as Master of the National Maternity Hospital, D.Med.
Margaret Mullett for her contribution to public servise/ public health in raising awareness of haemochromatosis, L.L.D.
Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly for her contribution to the study of German literature and culture, D.Litt.
Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh for his contribution to Irish History, the Irish language and Irish public life, D.Litt.

Ruairí Quinn for his contribution to Irish public life and public service, L.L.D.


Brian Bourke was introduced by Dr Nessa Cronin of NUI, Galway. She referred to his contribution to Irish culture as an artist, sculptor, musician, puppeteer, theatre-maker and portrait painter. In 1985 Brian Bourke was named the Sunday Independent Artist of the Year, was included in the formative Rosc exhibition in Cork in 1980, and received the prestigious O’Malley Award from the Irish-American Cultural Institute in 1993. He has spent time in Dublin, at St Martin’s College of Art and Goldsmiths in London as well as Paris, New York, Bavaria, Spain and Italy each influencing his life’s work in different ways. Dr Cronin referred to Bourke as ‘our artist, our ollamh, a Doctor of Fine Arts in the best of Irish and European traditions.’

Professor Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, introducing Dr Rhona Mahony, noted her contribution to public health. Dr Mahony, in January 2012, was appointed as Master of the National Maternity Hospital, the 17th master and the first female master since the foundation of the hospital in 1894, and the first female master of a maternity hospital anywhere in Ireland. Professor Nolan noted Dr Mahony’s part in the very recent agreement between the National Maternity Hospital and St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group providing for move of the National Maternity Hospital and the co-location of maternity and acute adult health care on the Elm Park site, saying that it was a ‘testament to her leadership’ and saying that it would prove to be one of her most important accomplishments.

Introducing Margaret Mullett, Professor Frank Murray, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland praised her for her services to Health in Ireland through her advocacy regarding enhancing identification, early diagnosis and care of patients suffering from Hereditary Haemochromatosis (HH). Margaret Mullett has been Chairwoman of the Irish Haemochromatosis Association since 2002. The IHA is a registered national charity, whose primary purpose is to raise awareness of Haemochromatosis. When Margaret joined the IHA in 2001, there were 33 members. There are now more than 1500 members, which Professor Murray attributed to Dr Mullett’s ‘drive and energy’. Between 2005 and 2010, almost 20,000 patients were diagnosed with the illness on the island of Ireland. Margaret has played a key role in advancing HH in Ireland.

Introducing Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, Prof Patrick O’Donovan, University College Cork noted that she is a highly distinguished Germanist, whose work also extends into other European literatures, ancient and modern. Professor Watanabe-O’Kelly undertook her doctorate at the University of Basel in Switzerland in 1976. She taught at the University of Reading from 1974 to 1989, when she went to Oxford as Faculty Lecturer in German and Fellow of Exeter College. She was awarded the title of Professor of German Literature in 1992. Among her books are Melancholie und die melancholische Landschaft (1978), Triumphal Shews. Tournaments at German-Speaking Courts in their European Context 1560-1730 (1992) and Court Culture in Dresden from Renaissance to Baroque (2002). She currently leads a major European project, Marrying Cultures, which focuses on queens consort and on their part in fluctuating European identities between 1500 and 1800.

Prof Mary Daly of the Royal Irish Academy, introducing Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, referred to him a distinguished historian of modern Ireland. She said that he had had a ‘major role in expanding the range of Irish history most especially in social, cultural and local history, and by bringing Irish language, literature and culture into the main field of historical inquiry. Professor Ó Tuathaigh has been a member of the Senate of NUI; the Fulbright Commission; chair of Údarás na Gaeltachta and Bord na Gaeilge, a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemoration, and most recently as a member of President Higgins’ Council of State. Professor Daly said that Professor Ó Tuathaigh had made his mark as a historian with the publication in 1972 of Ireland before the famine.

Professor Caroline Hussey, former member of Senate and Registrar of UCD, introducing Ruairí Quinn, referred to his exceptional contribution to Irish public life. In all, he had served four decades between Dáil and Seanad, and remains Labour's longest serving public representative. During that time, he has been successively, Minister of State in Environment, Minister for Labour, The Public Service, Enterprise and Employment and Finance. In 2011, he was appointed Minister for Education and Skills. He retired from Cabinet in July, 2014. Ruairí Quinn was leader of his Party from 1997 to 2002 and has remained a major figure in Irish and European Labour and Progressive Politics to the present day. He is a founding member, and the incoming Chair, of the Institute of International and European Affairs, in Dublin.