Saturday 15 December 2018

Caring Dermot never forgot Syrian visitors

The late Dermot Costello
The late Dermot Costello

Dermot Costello, the founder of the Wicklow Syria Appeal, leaves behind a long-lasting legacy that won't be forgotten.

Mourners gathered to pay tribute to the 49-year-old at his funderal Mass yesterday (Tuesday, January 9).

Dermot, of Marlton Demesne, Wicklow town, passed away peacefully at home last week surrounded by his family after a brave battle against cancer.

The husband of Jess (Jacinta) and father to daughter Kate and son Alex, Dermot was a hugely respected member of the community, renowned in particular for his charitable efforts.

Friends described him as a 'warm and kind-natured man' who alwas had a smile for anyone he met.

He was Chairman of the Special Olympics in Wicklow when the town hosted the Syrian Special Olympics Team for two weeks, resulting in the start of many friendships between the visiting athletes and locals.

However, the outbreak of armed conflict in Syria in 2011 resulted in the Wicklow community losing contact with their Syrian friends, with no information on their whereabouts.

In 2016, Dermot founded the Wicklow Syria Appeal to support those affected by the conflict in Syria.

Speaking at the time, he said: 'Wicklow Syria Appeal wishes to engage with the wider community of Wicklow around what we can do to help Syrian refugees coming to Ireland. We have partnered with Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, a migrant and refugee rights charity, to develop an exciting and unique community project that can make a positive difference to the lives of those affected by war in Syria though community action, education and fundraising.'

Dermot was the European head of the US tech firm Qualtrics, the world's leading enterprise survey technology provider, having helped establish the company in Europe.

Dermot was at the forefront of Qualtrics' Five for the Fight campaign against cancer, whereby the company is seeking to raise €500,000 to fund a three-year tumour immunology programme with Breakthrough Cancer Research, which targets cancers with a poor prognosis, such as ovarian, malignant melanoma, pancreatic and oesophageal cancer.

Originally from Dublin, Dermot had lived in Wicklow town for over 20 years.

He was a member of Wicklow Rugby Club for many years and was also a former coach. He managed the Under-14 side, for which his son Alex played until recently. As a mark of respect, the club held a minute's silence before their game against Gorey on Saturday.

Dermot was also an active member of Wicklow Sailing Club where he made many friends down through the years.

From 2012 to 2014, he was the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Wicklow Montessori School.

The large attendance at Dermot's funeral held yesterday, Tuesday, January 9, at St Patrick's Church was testament to the high-regard with which he was held locally.

He is survived by Jess, Kate ad Alex, father Michael, brothers Niall, Liam and Justin, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, extended family, relatives and many friends.

Wicklow People