Tributes have been paid tribute to a “passionate, dedicated and committed” social worker in the Western Trust who died after contracting coronavirus.

uala McLaughlin died peacefully on Tuesday at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, after working for almost 20 years within the Western Trust’s Family and Childcare Directorate.

A family notice said her death was “deeply regretted” by her wider family, including her two children.

Colleagues passed on their condolences with a moving tribute posted on the Western Trust’s Facebook page.

“Everyone within the Western Trust are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of our dear friend and colleague, Nuala McLaughlin,” the message read.

“The challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic have been very tough on all Health and Social Care staff and it is most difficult when we lose one of our own directly for the first time to this disease.”

Describing Ms McLaughlin as a highly valued team member and friend, the message included a tribute from her close colleagues in the Women’s and Children’s Directorate.

One wrote: “She was one of the most passionate, dedicated and committed workers who took great pride in carrying out her duties to ensure the best possible outcomes for the children and families she had contact with.”

Having progressed to the role of Social Work Manager within the Looked After Children’s Service, she moved to 16+ Pathway Service working across the Fermanagh and Omagh areas.

More recently, she secured a Principal Social Work position which her colleague adding she was proud of her achievements and had proved she was destined for greater things.

“Nuala approached her role with great humility, never seeking praise and often downplayed the significance and importance of her role and how being the genuine and caring person she was often made a difference in so many ways,” her colleague said.

“As well as being so committed and dedicated within her work, her love and care for her family, especially her two children, was always evident and remained her focus throughout her life. She included them in all that she did and they remained her top priority.”

They continued: “As colleagues we will treasure these special and memorable times we shared together including the laughs, the tears, phone calls and nights out.

“Anyone that knows Nuala on a work capacity would agree how her personality and presence lit up the room and became infectious. We stand in solidarity with all her family, especially her children as we can only imagine the loss and grief they are experiencing at this time and want them to know how much Nuala was thought of by her work family and we are forever indebted to her for all she has done for us.”

The funeral will take place on Thursday, leaving the McAnenly family home in Ballygawley at 11am for interment in St Malachy’s Cemetery with Requiem Mass to follow in St Malachy’s Church, Ballymacilroy at 12.30pm.

Due to Covid-19 guidelines, the family home, the interment and funeral mass will be strictly private.

Family flowers only, with donations if desired to the Intensive Care Unit at the South West Acute Hospital.

Belfast Telegraph

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