'Very surprised and baffled' – Roddy Doyle awarded Honorary Fellowship at at Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

LEGENDARY Irish author, Roddy Doyle was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI) at a ceremony this evening

The Booker prize winner is known for his much-loved work, which includes The Commitments and The Snapper.

When presenting the fellowship RCPI President, Professor Mary Horgan paid tribute to Mr Doyle’s work with young people and charity as she welcomed him as a new Honorary Fellow in the college.

“Roddy Doyle has consistently highlighted important social and health issues in his books, plays and screenplays.

“His work with the charity Fighting Words, which he co-founded, has helped children and young people from all backgrounds to harness their creativity and build skills for life.”

The prestigious award is reserved for leaders in medicine, science and those who have made an exceptional contribution to society.

Previous recipients include Mary Robinson, the late Seamus Heaney, Brian O’Driscoll and Sir Bob Geldof.

In 2009 Mr Doyle co-founded the Fighting Words charity, which aims to empower children and young people through creativity and writing.

Currently, his adaptation of The Snapper is running at the Gate Theatre, Dublin and audiences are also enjoying his play Two Pints is on at The Abbey Theatre.

On becoming an Honorary Fellow Roddy Doyle said, “I am very surprised, and baffled.

“Why would a novelist be given a Fellowship from a College of Physicians?

“Sometimes we say we’re baffled and we mean it in an almost aggressive sense. But no, I’m not at all, I’m just delighted, I’m very pleased – and still baffled.”

When delivering the citation for Doyle, Professor Brendan Kelly recognised the importance of his work in highlighting important social issues.

“It is not only Doyle’s humour that underlies his appeal, it is his truthfulness.

“Doyle’s stories and plays are full of laughs but they also address issues that are routinely ignored: domestic violence, depression, and serious illness.”

Mr Doyle was presented the award alongside two other recipients, Professor at McMaster University, and leading international researcher into inflammatory bowel diseases Stephen Collins and President of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, Professor Lau Chak-Sing.

On the recipients, Prof Horgan said: “This is a memorable day in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland where we honour those that have contributed to medicine in the fields of science, leadership and literature.”

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