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Ronan continues a family tradition 02.09.08

by Damian Dowds, Inishowen Independent

RONAN McLaughlin will continue a family tradition when he starts medical school in Belfast later this month. The former Scoil Mhuire students, who scored an incredible 5As and 2Bs in the Leaving Cert, will study medicine at Queen’s University, Belfast, some 60 years after his grandfather Dr Denis McLaughlin studied medicine at University College Dublin.
“My grandfather was a great influence on me,” Ronan said. “We always discussed medicine at the dinner table and he painted a lovely picture of medicine and clearly enjoyed it so much that I was anxious to follow in his footsteps.”
Dr Denis McLaughlin is, of course, well known to generations of people from Buncrana and all over Inishowen who he treated at his surgery in Castle Avenue. He graduated from UCD in 1949, in the same class as the former Minister and President of Ireland Dr Patrick Hillery and his wife Maeve.
He is currently the longest serving general practitioner in the country,
Ronan McLaughlin with his grandfather Dr Denis McLaughlin.
and, as Ronan explains, it was all very different when he studied medicine.
“There was no points system at the time, and he got a scholarship to UCD when someone else dropped out,” he said. “There was no on the job training as such and he went straight from college into a fever hospital in Derry before setting up his surgery here in Buncrana a year or so later.”
Ronan will spend one year in pre-med in Queens, followed by three years studying medicine proper, one year in a hospital after which he will graduate. Then, he will spend a further two years in a hospital setting before finally qualifying.
“I’d like to work in geriatric medicine,” Ronan said. “With an ageing population there will be lots of opportunities arising in that area. I’m also interested in cardiology, and hope to specialise in those areas.”
“I’m sad to be leaving Scoil Mhuire where we had some great craic and banter,” Ronan concluded. “I’ll miss my classmates and the teachers. We had some great craic here and I loved every minute of it.”
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