the Tribute FundAppeal at the Mater Foundation

The Mater Foundation was established in 1985 as the official fundraising body of The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital. The Mater Foundation was established in 1985 as the official fundraising body of The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

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Maurice Neligan

Performed Ireland's first heart transplant in 1985 ©The Irish Times

Pioneering Heart Surgeon ©The Irish Times

The Maurice Neligan Heart & Vascular Theatre Appeal

The Mater Foundation, together with the Neligan family, is extremely honoured to establish the Maurice Neligan Tribute Fund in recognition of his great achievements during the years he served with the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.

It was widely acknowledged upon Mr Neligan's passing that medicine had lost a great pioneer and a leading thinker. As well as innovative thinking in medicine, Mr Neligan was very entrepreneurial in terms of fundraising. There are many initiatives in the Mater hospital that would not have been realised without his fundraising abilities.

It is his legacy that we want to live on through the Maurice Neligan Tribute Fund. Through money raised from this Fund the Mater Foundation plans to purchase a core piece of equipment called a Zeego-CArm thus enabling the first Hybrid Theatre in a public hospital in Ireland, which will be named the Maurice Neligan Heart & Vascular Theatre.

Anon donated €25.00
Anon donated €25.00
Deirdre O'Loughlin donated €20.00
This is a small donation to acknowledge John McCarthy who is running the marathon in Stockholm on behalf of the Maurice Nelligan Tribute Fund. Well done John - Deirdre O'Loughlin, UL
Anon donated €50.00
Antoinette Flynn donated €20.00
Well done, John! Antoinette and family :)
Victor Palomares donated €1.00
Anon donated €25.00
Anon donated €10,000.00
Very kind donation made by JP McManus Charitable Foundation Limited
Anon donated €25.00
Kind donation made towards the Maurice Neligan Heart & Vascular Theatre Appeal
Anon donated €100,000.00
From the Mater Trust account for Research & Education acknowledging the role that the new Hybrid Theatre will play in educating new medical professionals.
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Maurice and family Read the full article in the Irish Times Health Supplement at

Maurice and family

Read the full article in the Irish Times Health Supplement at

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  • Tribute to Maurice Neligan

    Tribute to Maurice Neligan from friends and patients

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Adrian Meaney

Back in early 1977 our mother, Anne Meaney, underwent a triple coronary artery bypass operation preformed by Maurice Neligan. It was our understanding at that time that she was the first woman in Ireland to undergo this particular operation.

Over time and with the help of her family, Anne gradually made a good recovery and went on to enjoy many years and all the things in life she had done before her operation. Our mother eventually passed away on the 1st August 2009 aged 81, and yet she only celebrated 20 actual birthdays as she was born on the 29th February. Having survived her operation for over 32 years, and having checked as best we could, we understand that she was the longest surviving woman of this operation in the world.

Our family have always been grateful to Maurice for his wonderful skills as a surgeon and his dedication and care. Our mother is one of the many success stories of such great work.

Michael O'Kennedy

“Surprisingly intelligent for a Surgeon” was my old friend Brian Maurer’s response when I asked his opinion on Maurice Nelligan, the man who was soon to perform a cardiac by-pass on me in 1999.

“Uniquely generous for a Physician” was Maurice Nelligan’s rejoinder after he had successfully completed the operation; a “planned routine procedure” as he euphemistically referred to the cardiac by-pass operation. Clearly I had no part in ‘planning’ what was anything but ‘routine’ for me. But like so many others I am deeply conscious of my indebtedness to this great Christian professional.

He has richly earned 'toradh a shaothair' – the reward of his work, in Heaven. Michael O'Kennedy former TD.

Anne Gaughan

Having always been a fan of Maurice Neligan's column in Health Plus magazine I took the chance and asked him to come to our storytelling festival on Cape Clear Island as a special guest. I was director of the festival at the time, when I received a reply from him almost immediately saying that he would be delighted to attend I panicked and thought 'what have I done!' 'The' Maurice Neligan is coming to our festival...I loved his articles so much,it was sometimes the only reason I bought the paper. When he arrived to Cape Clear Island together with his wife Pat(the higher authority) they were both so charming and made themselves at home straight away by tackling the hills and rocky roads of the island not to mention the local pub 'Ciaran Danny Mike's'. Unfortunately they had to leave early due to the unexpected death of his aunt. This was the month before he died, I'm glad I got the chance to meet such a special man.

Bridget Kirwan Coyle

I met Maurice as a nurse while studying a Theatre Course at the Mater Hospital. All I can say is that he was a genuinely wonderful man, so ordinary and down to earth with no airs and graces considering his hugely successful career. The one thing I remember was his light hearted humour that what he did was "no different to plumbing!". Always so aware of supporting and developing his students he really was a fantastic surgeon and inspirational man....

Professor Brendan Kennelly

I have always found Maurice Neligan to be not only a brilliant cardiac surgeon but a first-rate writer (see his great book Heart Beat), a philosopher with unique insights into education , a literary genius with splendid knowledge of writers throughout the world, a humane genius whose splendid skills were often touched with humour. His conversation was full of love and fun. I often think of this great man and am grateful to God for his existence. He saved my life.

Suzanne Browne

After nearly 20 years and by pure coincidence I finally got to meet the wife and son of the hero that saved my Dads life. Although I was only a child at the time I can still distinctly remember when Dad was ill and taken into hospital with heart difficulties. As with all families the impact on everyone’s life was immense no more so than mine. I never really knew or even thought about the enormity of heart surgery nor who preformed such tasks however I do remember the name Maurice being bantered around the house over the following years with great admiration and affection. I can fondly remember Dad telling me about a gentleman and surgeon called Dr Maurice Neligan who basically saved his life by performing a triple heart bypass. To quote my Dad “Dr. Neligan was all about people so whether you were a statesman or a layman his genuine kindness and professionalism was no different and held no boundaries”. It was thanks to Miriam O’Callaghan that this accidental and impromptu took meeting place only a week before my Dad’s 75th birthday. From my whole family I can honestly say it was a fantastic honour and privilege it was to meet the wonderful family of the aforementioned hero Dr Maurice Neligan. Thank you all x x

Joe O'Sullivan

Eleven years ago Mr Nelligan and his team replaced the Aourta and Mitral valves in my heart in the Mater and i have had a brilliant life since then. I will always be grateful to Mr Nelligan for his expertise, kindness and generosity ,I will never forget him or his team and i think the Mater Foundation's Tribute Fund is a terrific way to honour his memory

Dessie Hynes

In addition to his friendship and good company my lasting memory of Maurice is of an extremely decent and generous man. I recall some years ago Cllr Peter Kelly telling me about one of his constituents, a Lanesborough man, who was seriously ill with blocked arteries and in urgent need of a heart bypass operation. Unfortunately the poor man did not have the means to have the operation in the time given to him and in conversation with Maurice I related the story. Maurice understood the condition of the man and offered to carry out the operation free of charge. The Lanesborough man was then advised that his GP would have to refer him to Maurice for the operation and Maurice in the meantime spoke to the Matron at the Mater Hospital who made a spare bed available for free. Within a short time Maurice was successfully carrying out the operation & the man is now a living testament to the goodness & generosity of Maurice Neligan. In my experience this is just one of a great many acts of compassion and kindness Maurice has shown to so many people. I take immense pride and pleasure in having had Maurice Neligan as my friend and I wholeheartedly support the campaign for a Heart & Vascular Theatre to be opened in the great man’s name. It will be a worthy tribute to a distinguished pioneer in medicine and to a man who was so important in so many people’s lives

Eoin MacMaoilir

I had tetrology of fallot repaired by Maurice Nelligan when i was three in 1981. I believe it was one of the first operations of its kind carried out in ireland. I have gone on to have an extremely active life. Without being a top flight athlete I have played gaelic football at a reasonable level all my life and continue to play recreationally now. Whenever I went for echo exams the the person conducting it would often ask who performed the repair. When i told them Mr Neligan did it they would generally give a knowing look and tell me i was lucky to have had him operate on me. Physically i exceeded expectations and i think i am fitter than most 34 year olds without having to live an ultra healthy lifestyle. I always listened out for mr neligan's contributions in the media and really admired the stance he took on issues of social justice and equality in terms of the delivery of medical care. I am eternally grateful for the work he carried out on me 31 years ago and was very sad to hear of his passing

Audrey Flynn

In 1962 I was born with congenital heart disease, and my parents were told there was nothing that could be done for me - and so my childhood was spent in and out of hospitals. Then when I was 14 years old we were referred to a remarkable new heart surgeon at the Mater Hospital and in 1979, at the age of 16, I had lifesaving major open heart surgery performed by Maurice Neligan. Here I am, almost 34 years later, (and almost 50 years old) in amazing health and living in America (for 22 years). I have a fantastic life and I travel the world, thanks to Mr. Neligan and the Mater Hospital. He is (literally) forever in my heart.

Sr Gerard

It is really wonderful that our new Operating Theatre will be named after Maurice Neligan. As long as I can remember Maurice was involved in fundraising for the Mater. In the 70's, 80's and 90's, he organised several very successful fashion shows to raise funds for the hospital. One of these was held in the hospital itself with members of the staff acting as models. The first two Isolation Cubicles for Heart Transplant patients were made possible from funds raised by Maurice. In fact, it was Maurice who organised the first Heart Badge Campaign when, along with the Mater Foundation and using the logo "Help Us Fix It" hundreds of thousands were raised. It seems so extraordinary and yet fitting that we continue still to fundraise for the hospital in the name of Maurice Neligan.

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