Warm welcome for progress on plans to honour Strabane nurse
02 February 2022
Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council's Governance and Strategic Planning Committee today unanimously approved arrangements to advance plans to posthumously grant the Freedom of the City and District to NHS nurse Pat McManus, who tragically died of Covid19 in 2020.
There was sadness across the City and District when news of Mr McManus's death broke in his home town of Strabane. The 60-year-old had continued in his role as a frontline care worker in England, despite suffering from multiple sclerosis, making him vulnerable to the virus. Mr McManus spent over 40 years working as a nurse, first in Northern Ireland and then after he and his family moved to England in 1994. Although he had been offered a managerial role to limit his contact with patients, he opted to continue in the caring role which had been his lifelong vocation.
The proposal to confer the Freedom of the Derry City and Strabane District was prompted by a notice of motion brought before Council in June 2020, but any plans were delayed due to Covid restrictions.
Members heard that the Freedom of the City and District event is due to take place on February 28th at 2pm, following a decision taken at two special hybrid meetings which will be held consecutively on the same day, to admit Mr McManus as a Freeman of the City and District.
The Committee today paid tribute to Pat's tremendous and selfless dedication to the wellbeing of others, and his determination to continue that service despite the significant personal risks early in the pandemic.
Chair of the GSP Committee, Cllr Martin Reilly, welcomed progress in the plans, saying: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to recognise the contribution that Pat McManus has made throughout his life to caring for others. For over 40 years Pat dedicated himself to the NHS, and his family must take comfort in the many lives that were positively impacted by his work and his compassion for others.
"I hope that this honour, while it won't alleviate their grief, will demonstrate the huge debt of gratitude we feel for Pat's sacrifice, and convey the pride of an entire community in his unwavering courage and commitment to his profession."
Pat McManus is survived by his three sons and six grandchildren. It's hoped that subject to a risk assessment of the Guildhall chamber, members of Mr McManus's family will be able to attend the meeting, with a Mayoral reception to be held directly afterwards in the Guildhall's Main Hall.