Rest in Peace, Frank Larkin

Rest in Peace, Frank Larkin

We would like to take a moment to remember our dear friend - former SBHI Chairperson, Frank Larkin.

Frank Larkin of Letterkenny, County Donegal, suddenly passed away last Friday, 27th March. Frank was an extraordinary advocate for people living with disabilities and played an integral role in raising awareness of spina bifida and hydrocephalus on a global scale. Frank previously served as Chairperson for SBHI and worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of those who vitally required support. Frank will be missed dearly by his family and friends, everyone in Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) and the wider community of people living with disabilities nationwide.

Rest in Peace, Frank.

We would like to share with you a message from our current Chairperson, Peter Landy:

Frank Larkin (RIP)

It was with great sadness last Friday 27th March, that I learned of the sudden death of my great friend and comrade Frank Larkin from Letterkenny, County Donegal. To Frank’s wife Pauline, his Parents, Brothers and Sisters - I extend my condolences on behalf of my family and the wider Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) family throughout Ireland at this very traumatic time in your lives. May his gentle soul Rest in Peace.

Frank spent all of his adult life campaigning on behalf of people with disabilities not only in his native Donegal, but for everyone in Ireland and indeed all over Europe and the World. Frank had a great ability to deliver his message in a friendly yet firm way to his audience, whether it be in a Branch meeting at SBHI, our annual conference or at a disability conference in Brussels attended by some of the top EU Legislators. Frank never let his disability define who he was, it was always about the ability he had to deliver on behalf of others.

One of my fondest memories of Frank was meeting him in Clondalkin on a Saturday for an NEC meeting. Frank told me how he had got on a Bus Eireann coach that morning in Letterkenny at 6am, to travel into Dublin to take a taxi from Busaras across to Clondalkin, just to attend the meeting on behalf of the Donegal Branch before 11am. Once our meeting had concluded, I offered to drop Frank back to Busaras for his return journey to Letterkenny. When we got there, I asked Frank how he gets his wheelchair into the bus. His answer was not what I expected - he explained that it was not a wheelchair accessible bus and that the driver would put his chair in the boot and he would have to arse (excuse my language) his way up the steps of the bus and into his seat; then repeating the process when he arrived in Letterkenny at 9pm that night. This can only be described as true dedication to the cause - a fifteen-hour round trip on unsuitable public transport to represent our members.

Frank was the Chairman of the Board of Directors from October 2013 to October 2015, during which time he had to oversee the running of the Organisation without a CEO in place. He was indeed the sitting chair who oversaw the appointment of the current CEO, Mr. Tom Scott. Frank’s commitment to anything could never be questioned and his other great passion outside of SBHI was of course the Centre for Independent Living in Donegal, to which he gave huge amounts of his time. He had many other interests besides his campaigning, and I know he was a huge Football fan of both Soccer and GAA following Finn Harps and the Donegal Senior Footballers.

I was very privileged indeed to have met Frank and Pauline and strike up the lasting friendship we had over the years. I will miss your wise words of advice at conferences and the warm chats whenever we met. Rest easy mate, you will always inspire me to do more.

Peter Landy