The Western Health Trust has paid tribute to “one of our own” who passed away as a direct result of Covid-19.
Nuala McLaughlin, who was the sister of Armagh parish priest Fr Peter McAnenly, died on Tuesday at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.
Mrs McLaughlin was a social worker for more than 20 years.
In a statement posted online, the Trust said: “Everyone within the Western Trust are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of our dear friend and colleague, Nuala McLaughlin.
“The challenges faced by the COVID-19 Pandemic have been very tough on all Health and Social Care staff and it is most difficult when we lose one of our own directly for the first time to this disease.”
Nuala was a highly valued member of our team and more importantly our friend. Close colleagues within the Women’s and Children’s Directorate have been reflecting on how Nuala was a natural leader, caring and compassionate to all the staff she managed and led and here are some of those reflections below.
“Nuala was a Social Worker within the family and childcare directorate in the Western Health and Social Care Trust for almost 20 years. She was one of the most passionate, dedicated and committed workers who took great pride in carrying out her duties to ensure the best possible outcomes for the children and families she had contact with.
“Nuala progressed to the role of Social Work Manager within the Looked After Children’s Service and moving to 16+ Pathway Service working across the Fermanagh and Omagh areas. More recently Nuala secured a Principal Social Work position showing that she was destined for greater things in the near future and was so proud of her achievements. Both as a practitioner and a manager, no task was too big or small and she always embraced a challenge and looked at practical and positive ways in how to provide a solution.
“Nuala approached her role with great humility, never seeking praise and often downplayed the significance and importance of her role and how being the genuine and caring person she was often made a difference in so many ways.”
“Nuala was also involved in many additional aspects of her role responding to out of hours and supporting our residential children’s homes. Not only did Nuala build meaningful and positive relationships with staff but this was also reflected in the young people she had worked with and cared for. Her interest, passion and drive for those she had responsibility for shone through in her practice.
“As well as being so committed and dedicated within her work, her love and care for her family, especially her two children, Eoin and Orla was always evident and remained her focus throughout her life. She included them in all that she did and they remained her top priority.
“As colleagues we will treasure these special and memorable times we shared together including the laughs, the tears, phone calls and nights out. Anyone that knows Nuala on a work capacity would agree how her personality and presence lit up the room and became infectious.
“We stand in solidarity with all her family, especially Eoin and Orla as we can only imagine the loss and grief they are experiencing at this time and want them to know how much Nuala was thought of by her work family and we are forever indebted to her for all she has done for us.”
“Our thoughts and condolences are with Nuala’s daughter Orla, son Eoin, family and extended family circle and friends at this very sad time. We also keep in our thoughts our colleagues who treated and cared for Nuala in South West Acute Hospital.
“We also offer our sympathies as we come to the end of 2020 to all those families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and other illnesses this year.”
Mrs McLaughlin’s funeral will leave the McAnenly family home at Ballygawley at 11am today (Thursday) for interment in St Malachy’s Cemetery with Requiem Mass to follow in St Malachy’s Church, Ballymacilroy at 12.30pm.