The staff of Deele College gathered on Friday afternoon last to mark the retirement of Canon Dinny McGettigan, who has been an integral member of both the Deele College community and the Raphoe community for the past twenty five years.
Canon McGettigan has always been a popular figure in the corridors of the school, providing a friendly ear and words of advice and encouragement to students and staff members alike, so it was no surprise to see such a warm reception for the Kilmacrennan native.
Following a lovely meal, the gathering- which consisted of staff members, past and present and members of the prefect team- listened to various speakers who all spoke of a man who has devoted his time and energy towards helping others throughout his long and distinguished career as a priest.
The esteem in which he is held was clearly illustrated by former principals, Dessie Griffen and PJ McGowan, while the current management team of Joe Boyle and Danny McFadden praised him for his ability to connect with the Students and offer them guidance when they needed it most. It was noted that during exam time that he was always there to offer support to students, before and after their exams. His ability to remember every student’s name was also highlighted, which shows the level of devotion he had to the school community.
Presentations were made to Canon McGettigan by Sinead Hegarty on behalf of the staff,Fiona Creagh on behalf of the religion department and by Keegan Gallagher on behalf of the students.
Addressing the congregation, Canon McGettigan said that he was overwhelmed and uplifted by the kind words expressed by the speakers and said that he had come to think of Raphoe as home. He thanked the principals and deputy principals, both past and present for their commitment to the ethos of the school and for their continued support of faith and religion in the school. And although retirement is imminent, his oratory skills showed no signs of demise, as he had the crowd laughing at his brilliant anecdotes, while also offering profound insights for the listeners.
Father Eamon Kelly, who will replace Canon McGettigan spoke of the tough job he will have in replacing his predecessor and also spoke of the esteem in which Cannon McGettigan is held within the clergy.
Mr McFadden concluded the proceedings by urging Canon McGettigan to keep visiting the school, as his warm smile and kind manner will always be welcome in Deele College.