Philip Coonan has been awarded First Class Honours in the Diploma in Social Studies and pursued his study with sensitivity, humility and a desire to understand society. His approach and achievements illustrate clearly the benefits of an integrated study in the social sciences, and in particular the advantage of having a sociological perspective on life and behaviour. Philip has shown a remarkable passion for social inquiry and has made very positive contributions to the social science programme. Philip writes that “by successfully completing the Diploma in Social Studies I am encouraged to continue to further my professional development. As chair of the Credit Union I have indicated my intention to study for the ‘Advanced Certificate in Credit Union Practice’ delivered by Ulster University, whose aims are to develop and implement best practice standards of governance, and recognises the unique ethos of the credit union movement, and where participants are encouraged to share knowledge and experience with others. The Social Studies programme has brought awareness and understanding to my life and where I engage with some of the most compelling and contesting questions in such disciplines as Sociology, Social Psychology, Anthropology, Counselling, and Social History. It provided fascinating insights into everyday life in my community, my family and my workplaces. Furthermore it explains how we communicate with each other? Why do places carry meaning for people? What are our rights as citizens? Why are we so fascinated by crime? What shapes our identity and why? I find that my everyday living has changed and has been enriched by my new found knowledge and understanding of human behaviour. This learning has stimulated my curiosity, encouraged me to ask questions and challenge assumptions, and helped me to understand myself – and the world we live in – more deeply. I also have developed a whole range of different skills that are valuable in my personal life, and in my involvement with voluntary organisations”.
Philip has recently retired having held the position of Works General Manager with the Simi-State Bord na Mona Horticultural Works in Portlaoise Co. Laois, Ireland. This major employer manufactured peat based products under the Shamrock Brand for the domestic and European markets. Philip is a qualified Electro-Mechanical Technician. He also is a certified IQA Internal Quality Systems Auditor. Philip is Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Portlaoise Credit Union, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Portlaoise Enterprise Centre established by Local Government, a member of the Project Evaluation Committee of Laois Partnership Ltd that was formed in 2008 to offer one unified structure for the delivery of economic, social and cultural services to small businesses, community groups and individuals in County Laois. A member of Laois County Development Board serving on the Economic Development Committee, and has represented Laois Chamber of Commerce on the former Board of Laois Leader RDC. Philip is involved with Laois Friends of Simon and many other community groups in Portlaoise.