The death is announced of Fr Pat Cogan, ofm, founder of Respond

We express deep sadness at the loss, describing him as a driving force for change

It is with great sadness that Respond has learnt of the death of Father Pat Cogan ofm., the founder and long-standing former Director and CEO. Father Pat founded the organisation in 1982 and remained involved as CEO and a director until 2016.

The deep condolences of the entire Respond community are with all of his family, the Franciscan Community and friends at this difficult time.

Father Pat, imbued by the Franciscan ethos, was a driving force for change in the development of social housing in Ireland as he sought to provide meaningful solutions to housing insecurity and homelessness. He oversaw the growth and development of the organisation for almost 35 years.

He was a major influence and pioneer in the Housing Association (Approved Housing Body) development sector within Ireland, working in close co-operation and partnership with Government Departments, local authorities, the Housing Finance Agency and others, with a particular focus on social inclusion, personal dignity and building sustainable communities.

Born in Cork in 1945, he became a member of the Franciscan Order in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1970. He worked tirelessly in community development projects, particularly those that sought to improve the quality of life for low-income families supporting them to reach their full potential in life.

Expressing his condolences, John O’Connor, Chairperson of Respond said: “Father Pat passionately cared about the plight of people experiencing housing instability and homelessness and worked diligently to bring about change and housing security. He turned that vision into real action.”

“While a proud Cork man, he cared hugely for the city of Waterford where he first started tackling homelessness during the 1970s. His work expanded nationally, leaving a positive footprint in every county across Ireland.  I know he was hugely satisfied when Respond redeveloped St. John’s College into a vibrant new space for the Waterford community in 2016, adding to Respond’s considerable output of social homes in the city.”

“His work expand nationally building on those strong foundations, tackling the ongoing housing crisis and supporting communities by providing high quality homes and key support services to people and families at risk. There are now almost 6,500 properties Respond owns and/or manages across Ireland with almost 15,000 tenants supported in their homes and a wide range of services in the community.”

Declan Dunne, CEO of Respond added: “The loss of Father Pat is a source of sadness for all of us at Respond. He worked tirelessly in the housing sector for many years, working to build an Ireland where everyone can have a home to call their own and where individuals, families and communities are empowered to reach their full potential. His founding principles of a right to housing and social justice continue to guide Respond today, and we are committed to continuing the work begun by Father Pat. May he rest in peace.”