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Donal was a mild-mannered, kind, tireless advocate for social workers

The advice and representation team and indeed the rest of the BASW staff team have been severely rocked by the death of our dear friend and colleague, Donal Mullally, who passed away unexpectedly on 4 April. 

A full account of Donal’s long and distinguished career will be penned by his daughter, fellow social worker, Eilis Milson, in due course. But we wanted to mark this tragic event with a comment from us, his current team mates.

Donal has only been with BASW for about two years, but in that time he has made a lasting impression on us all. Overwhelmingly, most of the tributes we have received about him have described him as ‘a lovely man’, and I can think of no better accolade to use; he was, indeed a lovely man in every way. 

He was kind and thoughtful, very supportive to the rest of the team especially when they were experiencing other challenges of their own, or those who were feeling less than confident in their own work. 

He was mild mannered and calm in his approach, but this was not to be underestimated – he was a very worthy advocate for our members and would fight tooth and nail for justice to be done – and seen to be done.

We have received many expressions of condolence from various sources – even from an employer against whom Donal was representing one of our members. They remarked that he was “very knowledgeable, pragmatic and a very pleasant trade union colleague to work with”. 

Also, a barrister who opposed Donal at an HCPC hearing recently described him as having ‘bewitched’ the panel with his charm. He was certainly a charming man and with that lovely, gentle Irish brogue – he was hard to deny!

I was reassured to hear from his family that Donal had told them he loved his job with us – at last being paid for something that he felt passionately about – representing the interests of members and staunchly campaigning for trade unionism as a whole.

Goodbye Donal – what a great hole you have left in all our lives.