The “great works and endeavours” of Buncrana’s Frank Callaghan were recognised in a poignant ceremony on Friday.
A large crowd gathered at Buncrana Community hospital to see the late Mr Callaghan honoured with a portrait and plaque, which hailed his “vision, perseverance and work” in securing the centre for Inishowen.
Buncrana Community Hospital, or Nursing Unit, as it is also called, opened 30 years ago, in 1984. Each year, 300 people are admitted from across the peninsula and a further 500 a month use its day services.
Frank, along with his “friends,” the late Dr Denis McLaughlin and the late Town Councillor Sean McLaughlin were instrumental in seeing the unit come to fruition.
At Friday’s ceremony, Mr Eamonn Glackin, director of services, said the facility would not be in place today without Frank’s commitment or influence.
Frank’s son Francis, speaking on behalf of his mother Anne, brother Brendan, sister Aine and extended family, said his “unassuming” father would have been “overwhelmed” by the event.He also paid tribute to his father’s friend, Henry Farrelly, who first suggested he be honoured and then “made it happen.”
Francis spoke about how his father, who was on voluntary committees such as Care of the Aged, the Red Cross, St Vincent De Paul and the Blood Transfusion Service, contributed to society on both a local and national capacity.
He said Friday’s tribute was “a really proud day for the Callaghan family.”
Guests also heard speeches from Mayor Peter McLaughlin, who knew Frank since a young boy. He called him “unassuming and someone who didn’t make a fuss about anything.”
“I’m glad the one thing he did make a fuss about was this unit,” he said.
He added that Frank always emphasised how the unit wasn’t just for the people of Buncrana, but for all of Inishowen.
Mr Martin McKinney from the Irish Red Cross, also knew Frank, telling guests he “loved him to pieces.”
Mr Jim Henderson of the local Care of the Aged committee described him as a “wonderful man,” while Buncrana Town Councillor Ciaran McLaughlin said it was an “honour” to be there.
Frank’s wife Anne and his family then unveiled a portrait of Frank, accompanied by a plaque. Both of them are now exhibited inside the front entrance of the nursing unit Frank was “so proud of.