The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) today welcomes homeless campaigner and carer, Alice Leahy, writer Colm Tóibín, historian Roy Foster, fashion designer Louise Kennedy, pianist John O’Connor, President Royal Australian College of Physicians Dr Catherine Yelland, Consultant Paediatric Pulmonologist Prof Bernard Kinane and Olympian Eamon Coghlan as Honorary Fellows.
Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour bestowed by RCPI and is reserved for individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to society.
RCPI President, Prof Mary Horgan, paid tribute to the new Honorary Fellows and said this honour is in recognition of their contribution to medicine, care of the homeless, music, history, literature, fashion and sport. “Medicine and the humanities can work together in a holistic way to improve the health of the nation and our newest Honorary Fellows exemplify this. Ireland not only has a rich tradition in culture, the arts, music, and sport but also historically has made an enormous contribution to medicine. As a nation we are world leaders in these fields and our college is delighted to recognise this with our highest honour.
The members and fellows of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland work with people in a variety of settings, including the homeless. President Horgan said it was important to recognise that need to care for the health of those who are without homes at this time.
“Homeless women have a life expectancy of 38 while for men its 42 as those who find themselves without somewhere to call their own age prematurely. Health plays a defining role in the homeless crisis in Ireland. It is not all about housing. Ill health, addiction and social exclusion are major factors in the homeless crisis. We are honouring Alice Leahy for her long dedication to caring for the homeless with this Honorary Fellowship.”
Alice Leahy, Director of Services of the Alice Leahy Trust said:
“I was surprised, humbled and deeply honoured to receive this Fellowship. My work would not be possible without the support of people from all sections of the community including so many dedicated members of the medical profession. This award recognises my wonderful colleagues, our directors, supporters and most importantly the people who use our service and inspire and challenge us in equal measure”.