Tributes have been paid to Fionnuala McAndrew OBE, former Director of Social Care and Children at the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Board, who has died aged 65.
“It is with deep regret and sadness that the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) learned of the recent passing of our much loved former colleague and dear friend Fionnuala,” the Board said.
Fionnuala McAndrew started her career as a teacher before embarking on a lifetime of service working in health and social care in Northern Ireland.
She initially led the Social Care Registration and Inspection Unit in the Southern Trust area, before becoming the Assistant Director and ultimately Director of Social Care and Adult Services at the former Southern Health and Social Services Board (SHSSB).
In 2009, she was appointed as the first Director of Social Care and Children at the newly established regional Health and Social Care Board in 2009 where she retired in May 2018 due to ill health.
The Lurgan woman received an OBE in 2011 for her contribution to social work and achieved a Special Lifetime Achievement award in recognition of her contribution to developing the role and profile of social workers across Northern Ireland.
Describing Fionnuala as ‘warm, passionate and caring”, Martin Quinn, Interim Deputy Director of Social Care and Children at the Health and Social Care Board, said: “Fionnuala was an inspirational and transformational leader and advocate that helped shape the future of social care within Northern Ireland.
‘We mourn the loss of one of the great leaders in social care and beyond and our thoughts and prayers are with Fionnuala’s family and many friends at this sad time.”
Sean Holland, Northern Ireland’s Chief Social Worker, said: “On Tuesday, June 29, our colleague and friend Fionnuala McAndrew finally left us.
Mr Holland added: "The social work community in Northern Ireland extend our condolences to her husband John and children Eoin and Ciar.
“Their loss is unimaginable. Today every person I know who worked with her is bereft,” he tweeted.
A short committal service was held at Roselawn Crematorium on Saturday, by invitation only due to Covid restrictions.