Car­ing Der­mot never for­got Syr­ian vis­i­tors

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS -

DER­MOT Costello, the founder of the Wick­low Syria Ap­peal, leaves be­hind a long-last­ing legacy that won’t be forgotten.

Mourn­ers gath­ered to pay trib­ute to the 49-year-old at his fun­deral Mass yes­ter­day (Tues­day, Jan­uary 9).

Der­mot, of Marl­ton Demesne, Wick­low town, passed away peace­fully at home last week sur­rounded by his fam­ily af­ter a brave bat­tle against can­cer.

The hus­band of Jess (Jac­inta) and fa­ther to daugh­ter Kate and son Alex, Der­mot was a hugely re­spected mem­ber of the com­mu­nity, renowned in par­tic­u­lar for his char­i­ta­ble ef­forts.

Friends de­scribed him as a ‘warm and kind-na­tured man’ who al­was had a smile for any­one he met.

He was Chair­man of the Spe­cial Olympics in Wick­low when the town hosted the Syr­ian Spe­cial Olympics Team for two weeks, re­sult­ing in the start of many friend­ships be­tween the vis­it­ing ath­letes and lo­cals.

How­ever, the out­break of armed con­flict in Syria in 2011 re­sulted in the Wick­low com­mu­nity los­ing con­tact with their Syr­ian friends, with no in­for­ma­tion on their where­abouts.

In 2016, Der­mot founded the Wick­low Syria Ap­peal to sup­port those af­fected by the con­flict in Syria.

Speak­ing at the time, he said: ‘Wick­low Syria Ap­peal wishes to en­gage with the wider com­mu­nity of Wick­low around what we can do to help Syr­ian refugees com­ing to Ire­land. We have part­nered with Nasc, the Ir­ish Im­mi­grant Sup­port Cen­tre, a mi­grant and refugee rights char­ity, to de­velop an ex­cit­ing and unique com­mu­nity project that can make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence to the lives of those af­fected by war in Syria though com­mu­nity ac­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and fundrais­ing.’

Der­mot was the Euro­pean head of the US tech firm Qualtrics, the world’s lead­ing en­ter­prise sur­vey tech­nol­ogy provider, hav­ing helped es­tab­lish the com­pany in Europe.

Der­mot was at the fore­front of Qualtrics’ Five for the Fight cam­paign against can­cer, whereby the com­pany is seek­ing to raise €500,000 to fund a three-year tu­mour im­munol­ogy pro­gramme with Break­through Can­cer Re­search, which tar­gets can­cers with a poor prog­no­sis, such as ovar­ian, ma­lig­nant melanoma, pan­cre­atic and oe­sophageal can­cer.

Orig­i­nally from Dublin, Der­mot had lived in Wick­low town for over 20 years.

He was a mem­ber of Wick­low Rugby Club for many years and was also a former coach. He man­aged the Un­der-14 side, for which his son Alex played un­til re­cently. As a mark of re­spect, the club held a minute’s si­lence be­fore their game against Gorey on Satur­day.

Der­mot was also an ac­tive mem­ber of Wick­low Sail­ing Club where he made many friends down through the years.

From 2012 to 2014, he was the Chair­per­son of the Board of Di­rec­tors for Wick­low Montes­sori School.

The large at­ten­dance at Der­mot’s fu­neral held yes­ter­day, Tues­day, Jan­uary 9, at St Pa­trick’s Church was tes­ta­ment to the high-re­gard with which he was held lo­cally.

He is survived by Jess, Kate ad Alex, fa­ther Michael, broth­ers Niall, Liam and Justin, broth­ers-in-law, sis­ters-in-law, nieces, neph­ews, ex­tended fam­ily, rel­a­tives and many friends.

The late Der­mot Costello.

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