President leads tributes to Leixlip man John Monaghan RIP

Best known as public face of the Society of St Vincent De Paul

Conor McHugh


Conor McHugh


President leads tributes to Leixlip man John Monaghan RIP

The late John Monaghan

The President, Michael D Higgins has lead tributes to Leixlip man John Monaghan who was best known as the public face of the Society of St Vincent De Paul (SVP).

He died at Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin’s Harold’s Cross following a long illness.

“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Professor John Monaghan,” he said in a statement. 

“The SVP is very saddened at the death of longstanding member and social policy advocate John Monaghan,” the society announced earlier today.

Originally from Drimnagh, he left school at 14 to work as a mechanic at a local garage before studying part time in  Bolton Street to become an apprentice mechanic. In 1967 he was appointed part-time lecturer in the engineering science department there and was soon on the full-time staff. He eventually retired from Trinity College where he was professor of mechanical engineering. 

He first became involved with the SVP in 1985 in Leixlip and from then to 2010 remained an active member locally.

In 1998 he set up and chaired the SVP’s national social policy group and soon afterwards was the society’s national vice-president – a position he held until 2012. He was also a member of the organisation’s National Management Council from 1996-2014 and was its media voice and face of SVP for 15 years.

“In that role he was seen as a credible and authentic voice for SVP views on poverty, injustice and inequality,” the SVP said in a statement.

In 2014 in recognition of his contribution to the work of SVP and to its development as a voice promoting social justice issues in Ireland he was awarded the The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the highest papal honour that can be bestowed on a layperson.

Kieran Stafford, SVP National President said that he 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 eight 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, and my last conversation with him was on that very subject.”

"He developed and led the SVP National Social Justice and Policy Committee from the late 1990s until 2012. It was a role which enabled the Society to carry out its policy development and advocacy work with Government, media and wider civil society.

Late in life, he took up flying as a hobby and passed his Private Pilot's Licence test in June 2102.

Referring to his cancer diagnosis he noted that after his diagnosis in  2011 "as befitting an engineer I had robotic surgery for the removal of the prostate in Aug 2011".

In an interview in 2014 he said: '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. 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.”