Friday 19 January 2018

'Courageous' garda laid to rest

Misdiagnosed officer was forgiving, funeral told

Pauline, widow of Supt Martin
Dorney, following his funeral
at St James's Church in
Ballinora, Co Cork, yesterday
Pauline, widow of Supt Martin Dorney, following his funeral at St James's Church in Ballinora, Co Cork, yesterday
Garda colleagues carry the remains of Supt Dorney
Supt Martin Dorney, who was buried with full garda honours yesterday

Ralph Riegel

A LEADING garda has been praised for the courage and dignity he demonstrated while fighting terminal cancer despite a catastrophic misdiagnosis by his friend and doctor.

Superintendent Martin Dorney (51) was buried with full garda honours yesterday after he died from an aggressive form of skin cancer. His illness had been misdiagnosed by his GP, Dr Pat Lee.

The mourners at St James's Church in Ballinora, Co Cork, were led by his widow, Pauline, and his three children, Aisleigh, Niamh and Ciaran.

In a special eulogy, Chief Supt Michael McGarry, a close friend of Supt Dorney, said that he had helped so many people throughout his distinguished career -- and left a huge void with his passing.

"Even though Martin's life was tragically cut short, his accomplishments and achievements are immense," he said.

"Martin was an industrious and exemplary officer. The children were his pride and joy.

"Martin was an extremely caring and warm-hearted man. Most of all, he demonstrated a high level of dignity and integrity throughout his illness," he added.

Canon Donal Lenihan told the congregation that Supt Dorney was sorely tested by his illness but never resorted to bitterness.

"He had the capacity to forgive because we spoke of that too," Canon Lenihan said.

"Martin had a great heart. He was committed to family and he was focused and very practical. His gifts and leadership qualities were in good hands," he added.

Supt Dorney -- a former Cork minor Gaelic football star -- was given just nine months to live last April.

His GP had removed a suspicious mole from his leg in 2003, but had failed to notice a lab recommendation that a wider area around the mole be excised.

In March 2009, Supt Dorney was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.

The diagnosis came just 12 months after he had been promoted.

Supt Dorney's cancer diagnosis sparked an Irish Medical Council (IMC) fitness-to-practise hearing against Dr Lee.

Last July, the fitness-to-practise panel recommended the suspension of Dr Lee for three months. But the IMC later doubled it to six months.

Dr Lee has admitted he feels personally responsible for the pain and suffering that the Dorney family endured.

"I feel a profound sense of anger and shame in myself for having allowed this situation to develop," he said.

"It was never my intention or my belief to cause this. How I wish this had never happened," Dr Lee added.

Among the senior gardai present were Commissioner Martin Callinan, Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice and assistant commissioners John Twomey, Kevin Ludlow, Fenton Fanning and Willie Keane.

Irish Independent

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