NUI Galway is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Galway businessman Dr Donagh O'Donoghue

Donagh O'Donoghue and President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins pictured at the official opening of the O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, which was named in Donagh's honour in April 2017. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Jun 02 2021 Posted: 17:28 IST

NUI Galway is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Galway businessman Dr Donagh O'Donoghue.

Donagh has been a long-standing advocate for the arts and innovation and played a key role over the decades in NUI Galway. He and his family provided generous philanthropic support in the establishment of the University's O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, which was named in Donagh's honour and officially opened in April 2017 by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

Dr Donagh O’Donoghue began his association with the University after he completed both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in the 1960s. Donagh combined his academic work with an active involvement in extra-curricular activities. He was a member of Comhairle Teachta na Mac-Léinn (the Students’ Representative Council, predecessor of the Students’ Union), where fellow members included President Michael D. Higgins.

The pioneering O'Donoghue Centre includes a 120-seat theatre space with retractable tiered seating allowing for multifunctional use and accessibility. It also comprises of studio spaces, classrooms, and a workshop and rehearsal room that has had a transformative effect not only on the University’s students but on the vibrant cultural hinterland that surrounds the campus.

Dr Donagh O'Donoghue received an honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from NUI Galway in 2008 for his outstanding contribution as a prominent member of the Galway business community and a member of the University's Governing Authority. Donagh O'Donoghue succeeded his father as Group Managing Director of Thomas McDonagh & Sons Ltd. in 1975 and grew the company significantly over a twenty-five year period. His catalogue of directorships includes Bord na Móna, Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and Galway Airport. He has also served as board member of IBEC, Galway Chamber of Commerce and Druid Theatre Company.

President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: "We are saddened to hear of Dr Donagh O'Donoghue's passing and we extend our deepest sympathies to Marcia and his family. His deep commitment over a long number of years and in so many ways to our university and his, and to the arts in Galway and its hinterland, has played an important role in Galway's reputation as a groundswell for arts and culture. Openness is one of the University's core values and thanks to the incredible generosity of Dr O'Donoghue, we today have a Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, right and rightly in the heart of our campus that has provided an open place of excellence in learning, rehearsal and performance for our students, and a wonderful venue that has hosted and staged many cultural and artistic events.

"We look forward to continuing to welcome the many stories that will be told, the careers that will be forged and the ideas that will be sparked in this wonderful building, thanks to the pioneering vision of Donagh O'Donoghue. Bhíodh sé féin agus m’athair ag treabhadh an ghoirt mar a bheadh laochra le chéile, mar shampla, in Aerphort na Gaillimhe agus ar an gCumann Tráchtála agus ba chairde agus

comhghleacaithe riamh iad. Cuireann bás Donagh brón orainn ar son a chlainne, ar son a chathrach agus ar son chomhluadar na hollscoile i gcoitinne ach beidh cuimhne air i gcónaí ar an bhfód seo.”

Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway said that: “Donagh’s loss is a huge blow to his family, friends, the university community, and the wider city. His gift to the university in the form of the O’Donoghue Centre has literally transformed the lives of hundreds of students already, and it will go on doing so for generations to come. The staff at the O’Donoghue Centre will miss Donagh’s good advice and his good humour: we will remember him fondly and with enormous gratitude. We send our deepest sympathies to his wife Marcia and all of the O’Donoghue Family.”


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