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Irish nurses’ contribution honoured by Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

Dame Elizabeth Anionwu holding a bouquet of flowers and standing with a man and two other women.

 Mayo University Hospital was honoured to host Dame Elizabeth Anionwu in recent weeks as she carried out a tree planting ceremony to recognise the contribution of Irish nurses over the last 75 years in the UK National Health Service. The ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate the legacy and heritage of the nursing community locally and internationally with a special focus on Irish nurses and their contribution to the NHS.

Dame Anionwu is an Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London. She was inspired to become a nurse at the age of four because whilst growing up in care she was treated by a wonderful nursing nun. Born in 1947 Elizabeth has Irish/Nigerian heritage. Throughout her career she was honoured with an Order of Merit in 2022 and a Damehood in 2017 for her work on improving the health and wellbeing of multi-ethnic communities.

The tree planting service was attended by Olayinka Aremu, President of the Association of Nigerian Nurses in Ireland, Conrad Bryan, Director of the Mixed Race Irish Association, Kevin Bourke and Marianne Staunton from the Mayo Emigrant Liaison Committee and members of MUH nursing staff.

During the event Dame Elizabeth commended the positive impact that 30,000 Irish nurses have made to the NHS. She spoke about the importance of working collaboratively and celebrating the unique and rich cultural heritage which the nursing community is built upon.

Padraig O’Luanaigh, Director of Nursing in MUH, added that it was a huge honour to welcome Dame Elizabeth to MUH.

“Dame Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for the nursing profession. Her work in campaigning for health equality is inspiring. We are extremely proud of our nursing team in MUH and were delighted to host this ceremony which acknowledges the commitment, professionalism and compassion of nurses both locally and globally.”