Michael B. Cleary, former Director of Foróige, The National Youth Development Organisation, sadly passed away on Saturday 28th April. Michael, who is widely recognised as being a pioneer of the youth work sector in Ireland, served at the helm of Foróige for 36 years (1967 – 2003).
“Michael B. Cleary was a social innovator who transformed the nature and purpose of youth work in Ireland. He truly believed in the unique potential of every young person, regardless of academic ability or social class, and he devoted his life to enabling young people to develop themselves to the full and contribute to society. Michael was a true visionary and I feel personally honoured to have known and worked with him. The young people, volunteers and staff of Foróige offer our deepest sympathies to Michael’s family. We hope that they take some comfort in the knowledge that his legacy of a better Ireland for young people will live forever.” says Seán Campbell, CEO, Foróige.
A native of Cloughjordan, Michael B. Cleary was awarded an honorary doctorate from NUI Maynooth in 2004 for his remarkable contribution to the youth of Ireland over a 36 year period. He is accredited as being the first person in Ireland to articulate youth work as being educational as opposed to it being solely recreational.
Michael’s unshakable belief in these principles drove his directorship of Foróige and contributed significantly to making the organisation what it is today – Ireland’s leading youth organisation, working with 57,000 young people every year.
May he rest in peace.