Dr Thomas McGinley, KSG, gazetted 3 July, 2001
Medical doctor. Born in Brooklyn New York in December, 1934, obit 28 January 2021. He grew up in Gweedore, Co Donegal. Founder of the Foyle Hospice, a native Irish speaker, worked as a GP in Derry for 35 years. After attending secondary school in Letterkenny he went on to study medicine before moving to Derry in 1960 to work in the hospital ahead of a career in general practice for the next 35 years. The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Brian Tierney, opened an online Book of Condolence for members of the public to share their tributes and thanks to Dr Tom McGinley, founder of the Foyle Hospice. Dr McGinley set up a small steering committee in 1984 to fundraise before officially opening the Foyle Hospice in the city in 1985 and, since that opening, the deeply-valued palliative care centre has been a source of great comfort and assistance to thousands of families across not only the city, but the entire district. Dr McGinley was honoured for his selfless and life-changing work by Derry City Council in 2014 when he was awarded the prestigious Freedom of Derry. He has a sculpture in his honour in St Columb's Park. It was after an encounter with a young man with terminal cancer that Dr McGinley pursued the idea of opening a palliative care facility in the city. He was spurred on to develop Derry’s healthcare facilities after reading an article in the Belfast Telegraph about a charity run for the Northern Ireland Hospice. “I thought to myself, this money has to stop going to Belfast,” he previously told this newspaper. That Belfast Telegraph article in the summer of 1983 sparked his campaign to create and run the Foyle Hospice, with the support of Catholic and Protestant churches in the city. Four years later, the Orange Order sold its site overlooking the banks of the River Foyle on Derry’s west bank to the hospice. It has treated tens of thousands of terminally ill people since it was opened in June 1991 by two young girls, one a Catholic and the other a Protestant, whose mothers had both died of cancer. In retirement Dr McGinley continued his work with the hospice. He was also a familiar figure running the roads of the city for many years as a keen jogger.