When the telegram arrived from St Conal’s in the summer of 1982, young Letterkenny Andy McGranaghan was cleaning windows along the road in Iona.
His mother, Kathleen, had put his name on a summer job at the hospital. When the show came, Kathleen and Andy Snner headed to Iona to tell Andy he had a start. It was a two week placement with the local team.
Little did Andy know that those two weeks would extend his 40 years of service with HSE. He started working in various manual roles before advancing to management, where he made an indelible mark.
Andy’s decades in the health service were filled with good memories, great friends and funny anecdotes, all of which he celebrates this week when he retires.
The Letterkenny guy is known in many circles – in comedies, dramas and even a city circuit walk!
But he won’t get his feet up yet. There are holidays to enjoy and caminos to contend with.
Andy says his work with HSE was “like winning Pluto”. In 1984 he was working at the laundromat when he was offered a permanent role, with which he secured a “good job under pension”. From there he worked in the boiler house and porterage before returning to education with the ambition to work in the administration. His nightly classes at LYIT and studies at the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin paid off, and since securing a place in the written department, he has applied his skills to almost all aspects of the inner workings of HSE. In recent years, he has been working in Seniors Services between Letterkenny and Stranurlar.
“The fun of doing 40 years is that you make a lot of friends, you’re exposed to a lot of different people,” Andy says. “Maybe during the time you’re there you take each other for granted, maybe it’s only in the last few years that you realize how important the role people have played in your life and the encouragement you’ve got from all of them. I’ve never met a manager yet who tried to slow me down and I’m so grateful for that” .
Andy says the business has changed a lot over the years, as he remembers how manual payroll has evolved into the SAP system. Covid-19 has also been a major stressor on the entire system.
Even though Andy wasn’t on the front line, his son Kevin worked at the hospital, and he could see the effects all around him.
Andy said: “We were all aware of the pressure in the acute sector, especially in the beginning, where a lot of people were suffering, people lost relatives, which is always going to be very difficult. I had a great interaction with community hospitals through the elderly services and they were affected significantly. Great. Although we were in the administration, we were involved in a lot of reporting at the time, and then later in the vaccine centers and clinics.”
Andy thanks many people for their support throughout his career and well wishes for his retirement. He says there is too much to say for fear of letting anyone out.
“I really appreciate the friendships made over the years, with every one of my co-workers, residents and service users. I was fortunate to receive my education through my work and it has made such a difference since I am 18 to 58 years old now. It has helped me grow into a person Better,” he said.
“For 40 years I could count the negatives on one hand. The positives were 99% of the time and we had a great camaraderie.
“I am so grateful to all the staff and the people I met along the way, especially to the people who have passed since then.”
Retirement gives Andy more time to spend with his wife Pamela and to focus on his passions for theatre, family and exercise. There are a few lunches, tea, and laughter to have with his mates, and then, he’ll have all the time in the world to talk about his two grandchildren, Rachel and Evie, and look forward to a great event. A big family celebration as his youngest son Mark prepares to marry Emyr O’Brien of Carndona.
I wish you many happy and healthy retirement years, Andy!
Andy McGranaghan celebrates 40 years of friendship after retiring from HSE Last update: September 17, 2022 by