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Farewell to inspirational Simon Fitzmaurice

Posted: 27 October, 2017

Simon Fitzmaurice studied film and broadcasting in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and as a student made a very considerable impact. His later highly successful career is well-documented, and his recent film “It’s Not Yet Dark” has been screened just this month in Dublin cinemas.

Simon Fitzmaurice receiving his Honorary Doctorate from DIT in November 2016

In recognition of his insightful work, DIT conferred Simon with an Honorary Doctorate at a graduation ceremony in St. Patrick’s Cathedral just one year ago.  Recalling the ceremony, the President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton said, “Simon and Ruth, their children, parents and Simon’s nurse not only attended the ceremony, but also very generously spent time with graduates and staff afterwards.  It was a very memorable occasion for all those fortunate to be present.  Now, at the end of a remarkable life so well lived, I would like to extend deepest condolences to Ruth and the whole family on behalf of all in DIT.”

Simon celebrating with family outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in November 2016

In the citation read during the conferring ceremony, the Dean of the DIT College of Arts and Tourism John O’Connor said: “Simon’s story as an artist and film-maker, and as an inspiration to those who have been lucky enough to encounter him, didn’t begin when he was diagnosed with MND Motor Neuron Disease.  Simon has been an artist, with a gifted, poetic instinct for telling beautifully crafted stories for many years before his diagnosis. His infectious, good-humoured approach to working under very trying conditions has also been an inspiration to many of his peers and friends.

Simon’s story since his diagnosis has been well documented. It is often said that it is an inspirational story.  Perhaps you might think this is why he is receiving this award from DIT, and I can see why. The most recent part of his life is a great against-the-odds story. I can’t say for certain, but my guess is that Simon wouldn’t relish the prospect of a reward for simply doing his job, no matter what his circumstances.  If we are to regard him as inspirational, let us consider fully why that is the case.

The greater truth is that Simon’s desire not just to remain living as long as possible, but to actually truly live as long as possible predates his diagnosis and shames all of us who don’t do half as much with a thousand times more opportunity to do so.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.