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Statement from Society of St Vincent de Paul on death of social justice advocate John Monaghan

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) is very saddened at the death of longstanding member and social policy advocate John Monaghan.

John joined SVP in 1985 and was an active member of his SVP Conference in Leixlip, Co. Kildare and a member of the National Management Council from 1996-2014.

He was also the 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.

In 2014 in recognition of his contribution to the work of SVP and to the development of SVP as a voice promoting Social Justice issues in Ireland.

John 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; “John 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 8 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, my last conversation with him was on that very subject. Those of us who had the honour to serve with him will never forget his dedication to help those in need and bring about an end to poverty. He embodied the true Vincentian spirit.

"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.

"From 2012-2014 he continued to  help train new SVP members. His guidance, wisdom and hard work as a volunteer and member of the National Board was truly a huge benefit to the Society and those it served.
“His unselfish attitude is shown in his own words in an interview for the SVP Bulletin in 2014, '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

He grew up in Drimnagh in Dublin and was Professor of Mechanical Engineering in Trinity College where he was elected Fellow in 1993. He was a Fellow of Engineers Ireland and a Chartered Engineer.

He was the author/co-author of over 200 journal/conference papers and over 100 research reports. 

He was Awarded Hon DPhil by DIT in 2013. In addition he was awarded the William Johnson International Gold Medal for Research and Teaching in 2014. 

He also served on the Board of Combat Poverty Agency (2005 - 2009) and was a Member of Bishops Commission for Justice and Peace (2010 to 2013). 

Kieran Stafford said, “Throughout his active life he was devoted to his own family and the SVP family. Our sincere condolences to his wife Catherine, his children and grandchildren. May He Rest in Peace.”

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