Monica Egan Remembered

Obituary note for Monica Egan

Monica Egan, a pioneering social worker, passed away recently. Through her work Monica created a very positive legacy most notably by the pivotal role she played in the introduction of regulation to health and social care professions. This legacy will endure with the patients and service users of many professions benefitting from her efforts.

The core principles that underpin the wonderful work social workers do include those of social justice, human rights and respect for diversities. One other in particular describes Monica and that is ‘collective responsibility’, for while she was highly dedicated to the service users of St Michael’s House she did much throughout her career to help people in the wider community as well.

Among one of Monica’s most significant achievements was her contribution to the establishment of statutory registration for health and social care professions. Calls for its introduction dated back, almost to the foundation of the state, to 1926. It took until 2007 for the Health and Social Care Professional Council (Council) to be established and it was then that Mary Harney, the Minister for Health, appointed Monica as the first social work member of the first Council.

Monica’s appointment did not come as a surprise and it was a just recognition of the her many achievements. She had recently finished a six-year term as President of the Irish Association of Social Workers and had also been a member of the National Social Work Qualification Board (NSWQB) who had prepared much of the ground work to regulate the social work profession.

In 2010, while also busily editing Irish Social Worker Monica was appointed, along 12 others to the first Social Work Registration Board (SWRB). In this role Monica with her Board colleagues oversaw the opening of the statutory register for social workers less than a year later.

This was the first profession regulated by CORU and Monica, as the link person between Council and the SWRB played a critical role in understanding the overall standards for all of the professions, set by Council and adapted by the SWRB. The learning from that experience has been instrumental in CORU’s future development as it now progresses to regulating 17 professions and with over 21,000 professionals currently regulated, growing to 35,000.

Monica was a passionate and proud social worker, who always thought of the people, families and carers who used the services of social workers. She always wanted to ensure that the correct standards were set to support professional practice. She was a proactive and dedicated person, always looking at ways we could progress the work.

She was very professional to deal with, always obliging and had a lovely sense of humour. She took the work seriously but never herself. There was one Council meeting in the middle of a snow blizzard, where Monica had to go to extraordinary lengths to attend our meeting, to ensure we were quorate. We knew we could depend on her.

Monica’s work on that first SWRB continues to have positive influence on both her profession and others. It continues to help CORU to protect the public through. CORU was honoured to have worked with Monica as a committed and dedicated person.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.

Ginny Hanrahan (Inaugural CEO/Registrar CORU)