Community champion: West Cork pharmacist praised as a 'gem' 

Community champion: West Cork pharmacist praised as a 'gem' 
Eileen Scannell, of Scannell's Pharmacy in Ballineen.

A WEST Cork pharmacist has been lauded for her exceptional efforts in helping her local community in a variety of ways during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the helm of Scannell’s Pharmacy in Ballineen, established in 1993, Eileen Scannell has reworked operations within the pharmacy to safeguard staff while ensuring that the community’s needs are looked after.

“With five children, Eileen is a busy lady and yet still manages to be a brilliant businesswoman and community champion,” former employee Alannah Hurley told The Echo.

Alannah, 24, who worked in Scannell’s when she was an undergraduate in college, has kept in contact with Eileen since leaving her position and attests that going the extra mile for her customers is what Eileen is known for.

“Coronavirus or no coronavirus, she always goes above and beyond for her customers and her staff,” said Alannah.

In light of the pandemic, Eileen has divided her employees into teams, ensuring that they are not overworked and get adequate days off.

She also took the decision to temporarily close the pharmacy between 1pm and 2pm during the pandemic to ensure that staff get a well-earned lunch break.

However, Eileen will not want customers having to wait around and therefore she has employed an extra member of staff to take messages at the pharmacy during the hour which are passed onto the pharmacist on duty, ensuring that customers will still be served if they do happen to arrive at lunch hour.

“Eileen herself opened the pharmacy for a few hours on Easter Monday to ensure nobody would be stuck especially for prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines over the bank holiday,” said Alannah. “That’s typical of her, she’s always putting everyone else before herself. She’s a little gem.”

While Scannell’s has always operated a text and collect service for prescriptions, Eileen has now also put one in place for over-the-counter products such as toiletries, first aid products, vitamins, hair and beauty, so her customers will not be without their favourite products.

Scannell’s is also operating a delivery service which is completely free of charge to assist elderly or vulnerable people who may be unable to collect their items.

A driven and determined individual, Eileen undertook a Master’s in Pharmacy at Trinity College Dublin and graduated top of her class in 2014.

She is a stalwart member of her community, tutoring final year pharmaceutical students and getting involved in local activities, such as the Community Games. Last year, she was involved in setting up Ciorcal Comhrá, an Irish language conversation group, who met weekly in a local hall.

Eileen’s extra efforts to ensure her local community is looked after during the pandemic have not been overlooked.

“Some members of the local community have been dropping off baking and goodies whilst others have been messaging Eileen to thank her and all of her staff for their continued efforts to serve the local community during these unprecedented times,” said Alannah.

  • Do you know someone who is going above and beyond to help people in this time of need? Send an email to nominating the person you think deserves to be a community champion, along with your name and contact details and we will feature one champion every week in The Echo and on

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