ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture
The Willie Bermingham Lecture, which is sponsored by ALONE, is the keynote address at the Annual & Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society.
The theme of the lecture is generally reflective of the presenter’s special interests and perspectives on ageing and older people. In recent years our esteemed lecturers have covered interests, concerns and challenges over a broad range of topics including medicine, economics, social policy and law.
In 1977, Willie Bermingham founded ALONE (A Little Offering Never Ends), an organisation which highlighted the plight of old forgotten individuals who were living in squalid neglect in Dublin. This was after he had found several people dead in appalling conditions through his work as a firefighter.
Willie undertook his ALONE project on a voluntary basis, whilst still holding down his job in Dublin Fire Brigade. Many colleagues joined him as volunteers. As news spread of the work, the organisation grew. Although it has become a relatively large organisation, the focus on older people as individuals has never changed.
Willie received a People of the Year award in 1979. In 1985 he was awarded the International Firefighter of the Year award. In 1988, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law by Trinity College, Dublin.
Willie Bermingham died after a short illness in 1990. However, the foundations he laid has ensured that ALONE is still an active charity in Ireland. It supports housing and befriending schemes as well as advocating for older people. 100% of donations to ALONE go to front-line services.