Dr Michael Mulcahy, an innovative, clear, penetrative thinker, always courteous, and respectful of others died on January 1st 2020, after a short illness – our thoughts are with Joan, his children and extended family.
Michael was born in Australia, where his father worked as a Doctor. His mother returned to Ireland after his father’s early death at the age of 33.
Michael was always prepared to push the boundaries – leaving secondary school early to study independently for the National University Matriculation exam – commencing his Medical Studies in University College Dublin where he graduated with distinction in 1953.
He commenced his Psychiatry training in America – completing them at St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin in 1962.
Michael was elected to the position of Vice President of the IASSIDD in 1985. Prior to this he worked closely with Annaliese Dupont who took over the position of President following the untimely death of President-Elect Alan Roeher in a plane crash in 1982, soon after the closing of the Association;s Sixth Congress held in Toronto.
Michael was instrumental in nominating New Delhi as the venue for the Seventh Congress in 1985 and worked closely with Annalise to develop a rich program at a venue; being the first held outside of the European-North American area.
As Vice President he was an active networker. He and Annaliese focussed on keeping the Association solvent, and developing the science. At the Dublin Council meeting, Michael initiated the resolution to switch the Congress schedule to quadrennial in order to alternate each two years with the congresses of the International League of Societies for Mental Handicap (ILSMH, later Inclusion International).
In keeping with the spirit of the earlier initiative in New Delhi, Michael warmly supported Australia’s nomination to host the 1992 Congress.
The Congress to Dublin in 1988 had over a thousand registrants, which meant in practice for Ireland a light was shone on what was possible to achieve on behalf of People with Intellectual Disabilities and their Families – informed by science and practice from other countries – precipitating the growth of a strong local advocacy movement.
As President and a member of the Scientific Program Committee, Michael also provided strong support during the lead up to the 1992 Congress held in the Gold Coast, Australia, which also attracted a similar number of registrants as the Dublin meeting.
Michael also actively supported the work of the Joint Commission which had been earlier established between WHO, ILSMH and IASSIDD.
He actively promoted research, was open to new ideas, supportive and encouraging of colleagues, but seldom if ever promoted himself; a faithful friend, always the gentleman, engaging, courteous and fun to be around.
Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam agus go bhfanfaidh sé ina shíocháin