it was not just her extraordinary contribution to Laois mental health services, the ICA and community groups that were recalled last Tuesday’s talk, but Kathleen Gorman’s positivity and energy.
Kathleen passed away last May 9, after a bad fall on holiday in Portugal followed by cancer. She had spent 40 years working in St Fintan’s Hospital Portlaoise.
Chairman of Laois County Council John Joe Fennelly noted her “pivotal role” while Caroline Myers from Laois Sports Partnership said her “dear friend” had helped bring mental health care out into the community.
Her husband Billy noted that the lecture took place a year to the day that Kathleen went on holiday, thanking the organisers of the lecture on behalf of their family.
“Kathleen was better known throughout the county and beyond for her dedication to the ICA, but I would guarantee that if there was a meeting of Laois Sports Partnership or the Mental Health Association, she made sure to go. Both were very close to her heart. All her life practically was looking after patients in St Fintan’s, and it’s great to see so many of her friends and workmates here. The speaker, Dr Fergus Heffernan, I don’t know what to say, he gave us entertainment, he gave us everything,” he said, thanking Laois Hospice for their help in Kathleen’s final weeks.
He afterwards talked about his wife of 45 years.
“She was always in good humour, seldom at home, always at some meeting. It was great to have a night like this, but it is sad, it is not easy adjust. I have my interests in GAA and Portlaoise Golf Club and it’s important to me now, it’s an outlet, talking to people, even if I only go over for a cup of tea and a chat,” he said.
Kathleen’s family were presented with specially commissioned pieces of pottery in her memory.