Gheel had a wonderful day of celebration on Friday the 6th of September 2019 in All Hallows, Drumcondra. The gathering was a celebration of Gheel’s journey and also a “ceiliuradh” (the Irish traditional celebration of bidding farewell) to staff who have recently left Gheel.
On the day I had the pleasure of talking about the past, present and future direction of Gheel in the privileged presence of people from Gheel’s past and present. The occasion was a wonderful catch up for all who attended, and All Hallows, Maramaduke Café was humming with the fervent exchanges of old friends meeting and new friends being made.
The ceiliuradh celebrated past staff who have added to Gheel’s great journey. Those recognised were Professor Michael Fitzgerald, consultant psychiatrist and world expert in autism, Ms Siobhan Bryan, ex Director of Services (now CEO Muiriosa), Ms Patricia Gorey, Social Care Worker after 40 years’ service, Yvonne O’Shaughnessy and Carmel Short who worked for years in the office, Ms Carol Barr, the past Human Resources Manager, Mr Barry Hall and Ms Maureen Shelly, past board members.
However, the pinnacle of the ceiliuradh celebration was recognising Mr Peter Byrne for his outstanding work on his retirement. Mr Byrne has been the Director of Gheel since 1986 and in that time Gheel has grown from a small converted stable mews to the multi centred services it is today. Gheel’s growth was due to Peters drive, vision, energy and autism knowledge but also due to his humanity, commitment to quality and wonderful sense of humour. Peters retirement speech reflected his humility, humour and his love of his family and the people Gheel supports. On completion of his speech Peter was met with a standing ovation in the room. I, on behalf of Gheel, the people we support, families and all who ever had the privilege to work with Peter wish him joy, happiness and health in his retirement.
“So, from us all who your friendship and support we will always treasure
We say long life, health, happiness and the most wonderous adventure
But above all thank you, Peter for all your wonderful wisdom, help and true professionalism
And for making Dublin, Ireland and the world a better place for people with autism”
Paudie Galvin (Interim CEO)