Castleknock College Union
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John Cooney, class '44

In Memoriam

Jan 8, 2018
John Cooney, class '44 - KnockUnion.ie

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The Union was saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. John G. COONEY K.S.G., class '44.

The death has occurred of Dr. John G. COONEY K.S.G.
Ballsbridge, Dublin / Castleknock, Dublin / Longford

Cooney, Dr. John Gabriel, K.S.G. (Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 and late of Castleknock and Longford), 8th January 2018, peacefully, in his 92nd year, surrounded by his family and in the excellent care of the Blackrock Clinic, Dublin. Beloved husband of Anne and of the late Patricia (née Huggard) and loving father of Leonora, Mark, Susan, Rachel, John and Patricia. Sadly missed by his daughters-in-law Mary and Helen, sons-in-law Carl and Howard, grandchildren, brothers Pat and Garrett, sisters Agnes and Gemma, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, step-son Peter McKenna, nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and his colleagues in the medical profession. Predeceased by his brother Fintan and sisters Mary and Christine.

Reposing at Fanagans Funeral Home, Aungier Street on Thursday afternoon (11 January) from 4 pm prior to his removal to the Church of The Sacred Heart, Donnybrook arriving at 6 pm. Funeral Mass at 11 am on Friday morning (12 January) and afterwards to Mulhuddart Cemetery.

Date Published: Tuesday 9th January 2018              Date of Death: Monday 8th January 2018


John was the eldest of four brothers - ahead of Patrick, class '48; Garrett, class '53 and Fintan class '56 - who came to us from Longford, albeit their father Mark was then Cavan County Medical Officer based in Lisdarn.

He was one of those fortunate individuals who took as easily to study as to games. The Bodkin Memorial Prize for English Essay was his in 1941, 1943 and again in his final year 1944 when he also won the Brady Centenary Debate Medal and the Gold Medals in English and Latin. He made the SCT in 1942-43 and was pack leader in the following year 1943-44 when they won the cup. A nimble pack leader at that for less well know perhaps is that John also won the Sheedy Cup for Handball in 1943.

It was no surprise then when John was made Head Prefect in his final year.

On leaving Castleknock he went on to University College Dublin where he began the study of medicine. In March 1948 he obtained the Primary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons being the last undergraduate of the National University to do so. He played his rugby then for University College and then Clontarf for three seasons. He also captained the Mater Hospital team and played on the combined Dublin Hospitals XV.

He qualified in 1950 and shortly thereafter in 1952 he took over the practice of the late Dr. Bob Cullen in Blanchardstown. While there he concentrated on obtaining the DCH and DPH degrees as well as gaining further hospital experience. In 1961 he decided to specialise in psychiatry and studied in Birmingham. On his return he entered St. Patrick's Hospital and obtained his DPM in 1963. He was admitted to membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists on its foundation in 1971.

A dizzying array of accolades and appointments followed - medical director for the Daughters of Charity service for the Handicapped - the largest such service in Ireland; Consultant Psychiatrist at St. Patrick's Hospital with a special interest in Alcoholism; member of the National Health Council of Ireland; Director of the National Rehabilitation Board; Director of the Irish National Council on Alcoholism and Chairman of its Research Committee; member of the Joint Committee on Alcoholism between Northern and Southern Ireland; Chairman of the National Association of the Mentally Handicapped of Ireland; and member of the Conjoint Board of Management of the Lourdes Hospital, Dun Laoghalre.

Throughout that long and illustrious medical career John remained a most loyal pastman. He was a long serving member of the Union culminating in his 1973-74 term as President. Here he was in great company for he was one of seven of class '44 to serve as Union President. Then in 1986 when the College constituted the first Board of Governors it was to John Cooney that the then College President, Kevin O'Shea, CM, called on to chair that body. John served with distinction in that role for nine years during which the bedrock for the successful College we have today was built. In acknowledgement of that great service, John was recognised by the Union as pastman of the year in 1992.

John also paid us the ultimate honour in sending us his sons to be educated at SVC - Mark, class '73 and John, class '80 - and they were in great company for seven of their Cooney first cousins also attended.

It was a life well lived but yet a loss is suffered, and so to Mark, John and their sisters we extend our heartfelt condolences and our assurance that their father will always be treasured as one of Knock's finest.

Requiescat in Pace