Two distinguished medical professionals, synonymous with South Tipperary General Hospital, were accorded a civic reception at Clonmel Town Hall on Friday night last.
Professor Paud O’Regan and Dr. Sam Kingston, with close on a combined sixty years of service in caring for the people of South Tipperary and beyond, were granted the highest honour the town’s Borough Council can bestow.
Mayor of Clonmel, Pat English, in outlining the remarkable careers of the distinguished recipients, stated that the evening was “to recognise their contribution to the field of medicine and commitment and dedication to South Tipperary General Hospital and to the people of Clonmel and surrounding areas over the last 30 years.”
The Mayor continued: “We owe a debt of gratitude to both Professor O’Regan and Dr. Kingston as they have always had tremendous foresight and have fought hard over the years to ensure South Tipperary General Hospital has grown to be the fantastic facility we have today.”
Comprehensively detailing their career paths, extensive expertise and total commitment and dedication to their vocations, the Mayor also outlined the extra mile the pair had gone in a whole range of other areas.
These included the amalgamation of acute hospital services in the county, the establishment of a teaching hospital at STGH, the establishment of a colonoscopy unit, the development of a diabetes and endocrinology service and the development of a diabetes day care centre. Not forgetting Dr. Kingston’s involvement in the setting up of the South Tipperary Hospice Movement in 1990.
The motion to accord the civic reception “...in recognition of their contribution to the field of medicine and their commitment and dedication to South Tipperary General Hospital and to the community of Clonmel and its environs over the last 30 years,” was officially proposed by Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose and seconded by Cllr. Darren Ryan.
The full Council Chamber was testament to the high esteem and respect both outstanding individuals are held in over a wide area far beyond Clonmel. South Tipp’s three Oireachtas members, Minister Hayes, Deputies Healy and McGrath, were also present, as was the new county manager for Tipperary Joe McGrath, Cllr. Michael Murphy, former Mayors Hubert Burke, Tom Ambrose and Tom Carroll, town manager Sinead Carr, town clerk Ger Walsh, Canon Brendan Crowley and Superintendent John Courtney.
In turn each of the eight town councillors (Siobhan Ambrose, Darren Ryan, Billy Shoer, Richie Molloy, Brian O’Donnell, Joe Leahy, Gabrielle Egan and Helena McGee) spoke and added to the richly deserved plaudits aimed at Professor O’Regan and Dr. Kingston. Each councillor included the remarkable work of all the hospital staff at every level, nursing, management, administrative and support.
Cllr. Helen McGee, herself a staff member at South Tipp General, originally moved the motion for the civic reception.
In her speech she said: “They have both brought a wealth of experience to their respected posts which they have keenly shared with their colleagues and one colleague really summed it up for a lot of us when she said: ‘two inspirational men, a privilege to have worked with them, as in the Gaeilge: Ní beidh a leithéid ann aris’.”
Cllr. McGee also quoted Professor Shorten, former Dean of Medicine at UCC, who had this to say of Professor O’Regan and Dr. Kingston.
“In 2013, great efforts are being made to define and document the “domains of competence” which go to make up the complete doctor. For decades, both Professor O’Regan and Dr Kingston exemplified each of them, diagnostician, compassionate and able communicator, scholar, teacher and leader; they have been consummate clinicians.”
On behalf of the local GPs, Dr. Richard Quirke, spoke of their absolute “commitment and dedication to St. Joseph’s Hospital now STGH.”
He added “Who knows if these two musketeers had not arrived from Cork and settled in our lovely Tipperary, would we have any hospital in our town, not to mention the true fact that because they parked themselves in Clonmel, we now have a great hospital due to Paud and Sam. And of course the great support of all their excellent hospital colleagues over the years.”
Dr. Quirke concluded by inviting the attendance to sing a verse of “Congratulations” which all duly obliged much to the embarrassment of his fellow medical professionals.
In his acceptance Dr. Sam Kingston acknowledged that he was humbled and flattered” and said he found it “difficult to recognise myself” in all the speeches made.
Selflessly he quickly moved to share the evening’s acclaim, giving recognition to previous staff at the Clonmel hospital including Dr. Tom Prendiville, Sr. Annunciata Hennessy and Dr. Eddie McGrath, all now deceased.
“I feel that the honour being paid to me is in fact an honour to the hospital and to all of us who worked together in it and strove for its advancement and I cannot thank you all by name. I feel that it honours everyone.”
In his acceptance, Professor Paud O’Regan too said that this civic reception was a “tremendous honour and he was extremely grateful for that honour.”
First and foremost he thanked his wife Leah and family for all their support over many years which enabled him to carry out his duties at South Tipp General.
“This is not an honour for me, and if it was it would be totally undeserving, and achieved under false pretences. It is an honour for the hospital and the tremendous staff, the incredible hard work, the incredible flexibility and adaptability and support we have had over many years.”
“It is an honour for everyone - the nursing staff, management staff, secretarial staff, support staff. We are receiving it this evening on their behalf, these are the people who helped us to make the progress we appear to have made.”
Professor O’Regan also included praise for the many fundraisers and fundraising work carried out by many people and also the support of all the local people over thirty years in raising much-needed finances for various pieces of vital equipment.
Concluding and in a pay-back to his great colleague Dr. Richard Quirke’s musical quirk earlier, he said “I would like to thank all the wonderful speechmakers apart from Dr. Quirke, the first in the 800 years of the Corporation and Borough Council to burst into song and lower the tone of the whole occasion.”
With that to huge applause the formalities concluded.