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Tipperary tributes to Dr Gerry Burke as he retires from hospital role

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Tipperary tributes to Dr Gerry Burke as he retires from hospital role

Dr Gerry Burke: tributes were paid in the Dáil to him on his retirement by Deputy Alan Kelly

Tipperary Labour leader and local TD Alan Kelly has paid tribute to the outgoing chief clinical director of UL Hospitals Group, Dr Gerry Burke, who retired from his position last week.

Deputy Kelly praised Dr Burke in the Dáil ahead of his retirement last Friday, describing him as “probably the most publicly-oriented clinical aide” he had ever met.

Deputy Kelly also posted on Twitter that Dr Burke had served UL Hospital group, which includes Nenagh hospital, with “great distinction,” and that he had fought for the resources it needed.

Minister for Health Simon Harris also paid tribute to Dr Burke, describing him as a “very dedicated public servant and clinician”.

Dr Burke thanked Deputy Kelly and Minister Harris for their good wishes.

While Dr Burke fondly recalled his colleagues, past and present, during his nigh three-decade career as a clinician in the Mid-West, it was inevitable that the professional work he recalled most vividly was what he experienced during the group’s battle against Covid-19, which dominated the final three months of his tenure.

He said that he was retiring at what he felt was the right time, and spoke of his “great sense of relief that our hospital services were not overwhelmed by the coronavirus”.

Dr Burke’s sense of relief at the management of Covid-19 in the Mid-West is tempered by caution.

“It has been a massive effort, but it’s a work in progress. The threat has not gone away. We must not be complacent,” he said. “The threat has not gone away. It has abated somewhat, but there is a threat of us being overwhelmed by a resurgence of the disease.”

The CEO of UL Hospitals Group, Colette Cowan wished Dr Burke well on his retirement.

“He is a person of very high integrity, who advocated tirelessly for quality and safety,” she said.