‘A quiet saint’ - Vincent Moran remembered by colleagues and friends

Chris Fearne, George Vella, Joe Debono Grech and Louis Galea remember Vincent Moran, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86

Former Labour minister Vincent Moran died at the age of 86
Former Labour minister Vincent Moran died at the age of 86

Former Labour health minister Vincent Moran was “a quiet saint” and a true gentleman, politicians who worked with the family doctor said of him as news of his passing hit the media.

Moran died early yesterday morning at the age of 86.

Former Minister and Labour MP Joe Debono Grech told MaltaToday Moran was a “quiet saint.” He recalled the time they used to work together when they were both ministers and said of the man that “Censu Moran was a true gentleman.”

Moran was a family doctor by profession before entering the political arena in 1962.

“Before him, hospital admittance was at a fee of 50c per day. He removed this fee and introduced free healthcare,” Debono Grech said. “He was also the one who removed fees on pills and other treatments.”

Debono Grech said that Moran had also been his personal doctor. “He was generous with his time and money, known for performing operations for free,” he said.

“He obtained more than 5,000 votes in every election and did not have to go knocking on doors because people knew him well. He was a true worker, going out of his way to help others.”

The current Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said that Moran had been his family’s doctor as well. “Since I was very young, he was almost like a member of our family.”

Fearne explained how Moran’s contribution mostly had to do with primary healthcare — the former health minister had introduced the concept of polyclinics all around the country.

“Investments and concepts in his time were never replicated,” Fearne said. “He was a true pioneer of the Welfare State.”

Fearne said that his friendship with Moran lasted until the late doctor’s death and that he had looked up to him while he was contesting the 2013 election.

“I contested in the fourth district as he once had. He was the person I spoke to, he was my mentor before I ran for the election.”

“Malta lost a person who was able to see the good in everyone,” Fearne said. “Red or blue, it didn’t matter, he helped everyone and he helped his patients even when they couldn’t afford his services.”

Former Labour deputy leader and foreign minister George Vella said he owed a lot to Moran, who – when he became a minister in 1972 – had invited Vella to take over his practice.

“As a young doctor, that was very helpful to me,” he said. “Ever since then, we shared many patients over the years.”

Vella too described Moran as a gentleman and a kind person, who never cared about people’s political affiliations.

Vella recalled how, during the doctors’ strike of 1977, he had been one of the doctors who went in to work.

“I remember Dr Moran, then minister, worked extremely hard to settle the issue and to reach an agreement that would not hurt the public,” he said.

“And he and I were in the superintendent’s office when we got word of the bomb that killed Karin Grech. We were all left speechless and incredulous at what had happened.”

Vella said that what made Moran special was his undying commitment to the oath he took and how he applied it in every single thing he did.

He also recalled how Moran always enjoyed the support of his wife Maggie and how he used to turn to her for advice and solace.

Former PN secretary general and minister Louis Galea told MaltaToday that in politics, he learned that Moran always tried to practise what he believed.

“But let us not forget he was a member of the Labour Party at a time when the party was very militant and when the calm, measured approach of people like Moran had no place in politics,” he said.

Galea recalled how hard Moran worked as minister of health in the late 70s and how worried he was about how certain policies were being implemented.

“As a man, you could not meet a bigger gentleman, but under the Labour Party then, Moran had to fall in line with the party’s hard line if he wanted to retain his post,” Galea said. “And unfortunately, Moran found he could not always be the gentleman he would have liked to be.”

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