‘Powerhouse’ Marie celebrates 80th birthday

By Maurice Garvey

A SURPRISE 80th birthday celebration was held on Tuesday morning, April 24, for Marie Duffy – a woman affectionately known as a mentor and matriarch of Neilstown.

Marie spent 27 years working as a caretaker at St Peter Apostle junior and senior schools, building up a rapport with generations of local kids, so much so that Kenneth Egan visited her to proudly show off the Olympic medal he won in 2008.

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Before Neilstown Boxing Club was established, Marie would open the school for boxing training on a Monday night.

Although her caretaker role finished up approximately 10 years ago, Marie is still deeply involved with her local parish Church of St Peter the Apostle, and is current chairperson of Neilstown Community Centre.

“She is smaller than anyone you ever met, but is a little powerhouse,” said Maree Duffy, daughter of Marie.

“She has been doing voluntary work in the community since the area was established. As caretaker, she was electrician, plumber, carpenter, you name it. Up early every day at 6am and out the door at 7am, to open the schools, turn on the heat, prepare the milk cartons for the children. She has helped a lot of people over the years and is very close to them.”

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Marie Duffy with family and friends in St Peter the Apostle church

Originally from Ringsend, Marie and her husband Maurice (85), moved to Neilstown when the area was in it’s infancy.

Planning to visit Lourdes

A mother of three, with numerous grandchildren, Marie is still deeply involved in the community, and is planning to visit Lourdes later this year with her parish.

“She deserves recognition,” said Maree.

“She doesn’t get much time to do anything else in between the church and the community centre, but does like a bit of Bingo.”

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