Dr Michael Moriarty

Empathy, Excellence and Career-long Scholarship

Dr Michael J Moriarity was awarded the 2016 UCD Medical Graduates Association Distinguished Graduate Award in May 2016. The following citation was read by UCD Medicine 1966 classmate, Dr John Murphy, RCSI-Bahrain Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.


Dr Michael J Moriarty

Mr. President, Colleagues and Guests,

I feel somewhat embarrassed speaking twice at today’s events. However any embarrassment pales in comparison with the privilege and pleasure of introducing my classmate from the famous class of ’66, my close medical colleague of many years and even closer friend for almost as long as I can remember, Michael J. Moriarty, for the honour of distinguished graduate.  And racking my brains, such as they are, I can think of no more worthy recipient for he is UCD through and through.

Michael was born into a medical family. His father, also Michael, was a consultant physician at the Mater, a Senior lecturer in Medicine at UCD, director of the student’s health facility and one time President of the UCD Rugby Club. His mother was one of the early radiographers in the country, and three of his siblings are graduates of this University. So UCD is firmly embedded in his DNA.

He was brought up in Fitzwilliam Square and walked the few hundred meters to school in CUS. CUS, the Catholic University School, was founded by the Marist Society of Priests consequent on an invitation from Cardinal Newman to produce students for his newly established Catholic University, which, of course, morphed into the non-denominational UCD. Following a brilliant career at school he walked another few hundred meters to Newman House in the autumn of 1960 to enroll in the faculty of Medicine.

He had, of course, the three requirements; the Leaving Certificate about 100 euro and a photograph. And these requirements, with the years in College, resulted in one of the most brilliant and distinguished doctors of his age. Michael’s progress through the Medical School was seamless if at times somewhat boring. One phrase keeps recurring; First Class Honours. He was a most popular member of the class and for a male who did not play rugby this was some achievement. In addition to his own progress he was most generous to his fellow students who might be struggling a little.

Following graduation he interned in the Mater and immediately decided on a career in Radiation Oncology. He trained in Dublin and at many international centers. He was appointed consultant at an early age to St. Luke’s and to St. Vincent’s hospitals. He was at the cutting edge of the many advances in that specialty. He was regarded as a first rate diagnostician and therapist with thousands grateful for his knowledge, skill and care. In addition to his huge professionalism as a doctor his was endowed with those rare and intangible qualities of absolute empathy, and the ability to balance reality with hope.

Michael always stayed loyal to UCD and followed the fortunes of the University at both an academic and a sporting level. He was one of your predecessors as President of the UCD Medical Graduates Association.

When he retired it was thought he might take it a bit easier; not a bit of it. He is significantly involved in cancer research, grant writing and generally helping others. Only last week he visited , with his  professional group, The Rads,  Searne in Switzerland with the thirty mile tunnel going under that country and France, and watched the particles bumping into each other and speculating whether the resulting neutrons could be used to target cancer treatment more precisely. So the lifelong achievements are great.

Of course, he could not achieve a fraction of this without the 100% support of his wife Anne, herself a radiotherapist, and their children.

Dr John F Mirphy & Dr Michael J Moriarity

Dr John F Murphy reads citation on the occasion of the awarding UCD MGA Distinguished Graduate Award to Dr Michael J Moriarty

Mr. President, I am interested in words; their use and meaning. I have selected three words that apply to Michael perfectly:

The first word I have chosen is EMPATHY; this means understanding and sharing another person’s experiences and emotions. In Michael’s case it meant going the journey be it long or short with the vulnerable and usually stressed patient and family.

The second word I have chosen is EXCELENCE; we all know what it means but it is hard to define. It really means surpassing merit. Everything Michael has undertaken in his Professional and personal life has been of the highest quality and could indeed be termed surpassing merit.

The third word is SCHOLARSHIP; it is a word I really like and certainly applies to Michael who strongly believes that his Hippocratic obligations do not cease with mere service provision. The good doctor has to be a lifelong learner, a lifelong teacher and, in the broadest aspect, as lifelong researcher; in truth a Scholar. Michael fits easily into every aspect of this definition.

Because of all these qualities, and indeed many more, it gives me great pleasure to ask you to admit Michael J. Moriarty as DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE.

Dr John F Murphy (13th May 2016)