Glowing tributes have been paid to Mary Ganley, who retired recently after thirty years as a Community Employment Supervisor with County Roscommon Disability Support Group (RSG) in Derrane.
Mary has been a lifetime advocate for disability rights and promoting independent living for people with disabilities and older people in Roscommon and further afield.
As a Community Employment Supervisor with RSG for three decades, Mary was involved in the progression of many people into training and employment and in particular into the healthcare sector. In latter years, Mary was mainly involved in organising the provision of personal assistants to people with disabilities along with services to older people in the community.
At a special function held recently to mark her retirement, her long-time work colleague, Bernie Connolly described her “one of the most an inspirational people I have had the pleasure of working with.”
“She has met such adversity in her life, but she has always had a positive outlook and enjoys life to the full,” said Ms Connolly. “Mary will go out of her way to help others and advocate for them on their behalf. She has been known to support and help other people with disabilities and their families whether it was through housing adaptations, accessing transport, OT referrals, personal assistant services and advising on their rights and entitlements,” she said.
Addressing the retirement function, Ms Connolly said: “Mary you have been the heart and soul of RSG for so long, you will be sorely missed by everyone.” She also paid tribute to Jenny Toal, Mary’s personal assistant for 16 years and who “epitomises the definition of a true personal assistant.”
Speaking recently from her home in Erritt, Carrowbehy in West Roscommon, Mary Ganley said: “I am the luckiest person. I had a lot of love in my life growing up, my family, going to school, getting training. My mother and father were forward-thinking for their time. My mother taught me as a daughter not as a person in a wheelchair. What the rest of the kids did, I did as well – that was my mother.”
Throughout her working life, Mary is so thankful for the great support she has received. “For all the time I have been working, I want to sincerely thank everyone who supported and encouraged me – it gave me huge confidence.”
Mary said she has always been very grateful for the support of her family along with Jenny, her personal assistant for the last 16 years. March 10th last was Mary’s last day at work. It was also her 66th birthday. When asked what does the future hold, she didn’t reveal her intentions but you feel her retirement years will still be very productive ones. “I am not going to sit idle. I have plans!,” she said with a smile.