He will leave a huge hole in my life

David Quinn pays tribute to Tom O’Gorman

Death comes in many forms, but in the normal course of things when someone close to us dies it is because they have reached old age. Anything short of old age is always a tragedy. But when someone dies in an extremely brutal, inexplicable murder, it is very hard to contemplate or to take in.

Tom O’Gorman was a very loyal employee of The Iona Institute since it was launched seven years ago. Tom was also a friend. Some people imagine that The Iona Institute is a big organisation, but it’s not. It is very small with a very small staff. Tom and I used to joke that we spend more of our waking hours during the week in each other’s company than we did with our families.


I suppose that it the way it is for many people who go out to work each day, but when you work with only one or two other people, the loss of a colleague is especially keenly felt. He will leave a huge hole both in my personal life and my working life.

I looked forward to working with Tom each day. It’s good to work with someone who you also get on very well with. He was good fun and had a quirky sense of humour.

He loved to impersonate people. He did an excellent impression of various politicians or people we both knew. He kept all his friends hugely entertained with his mimicry.

Tom has been described in the media this week as “deeply religious”. That could give the impression that he was some kind of ‘Holy Joe’, but whatever else he was he certainly wasn’t that.

On the other hand, he did have a strong faith. He was a lay minister of the Eucharist at his local parish in Castleknock and he was always full of praise for the various priests who worked there down the years. Once Tom decided he liked someone, he liked them forever and he like the priests in Castleknock. He was fiercely loyal.


Tom went to UCD where he studied history and in UCD he became deeply involved in the pro-life cause. He remained friends with many of the people he met during his time in UCD and he played a big voluntary role in the Pro-Life Campaign until his very untimely demise.

He also played a very active part in the Focolare movement, which is an Italian-based Catholic lay movement. This nourished his faith and spirituality. He would go to Focolare meetings regularly and once or twice a year would go to its meetings in Italy.

Tom loved company and when he wasn’t in someone’s company he was on Facebook keeping in touch with his friends in Ireland and the friends he made in Italy and America.

He had a big interest in American politics and he made various American friends that way. But he also loved movies and music and rugby and football.

When Ireland lost to New Zealand recently he took it personally. How he would have loved it if we had managed to pull off that one.

Tom was a single man and I suppose that’s what gave him lots of time to get involved in his various activities.

His father died about 10 years ago and his mother died in 2012. He still had his sister Catherine, and his brother Paul. Tom loved the fact that he had recently become an uncle.

He is gone now to his reward but he will be sorely missed by everyone he has left behind. May he rest in peace.