ONE of Northern Ireland’s foremost neurosurgeons, who worked at the height of the Troubles and was widely regarded as a medical pioneer, was laid to rest on Friday, January 19, having died suddenly and peacefully while on holiday on January 2.
The funeral of Dr. Ian Campbell Bailey, MB, BCh, BAO, FRCS, took place at St. Macartin’s Cathedral in Enniskillen last week before a private burial.
Having retired to Boa Island some 20 years ago, he was deeply involved with many facets of Fermanagh life.
The eldest son of a pre-eminent Dublin family, Dr. Bailey was educated at St Andrew’s College and he graduated in Medicine from Trinity College Dublin in 1953, having shown considerable prowess as an athlete and rugby player while at college. 
After a period of general surgical training in a number of Dublin hospitals, including the Adelaide, he embarked on a career in neurosurgery which entailed working in both Belfast and at Kings College and Guy’s Hospitals in London.
Professor Valentine Logue, who then held the chair of neurosurgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery within University College London, persuaded Dr. Bailey to go to Uganda and establish neurosurgical services in that country.
In 1969 he arrived at Mulago Hospital in Kampala. 
At that time neurosurgical services were virtually non-existent in sub-Saharan Africa and, despite very serious political upheavals, he was able to establish basic services for the people of Uganda, founding an institution which continues to provide neurosurgical treatment to this day.
He swapped one front-line for another when he was appointed as a consultant neurosurgeon at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast in 1974, at the height of the ‘Troubles’, and gained rapid experience in the treatment of gunshot and blast injuries to the head and spine. He continued to work at the Royal until his retirement in 1995. 
A former colleague said: “He had remarkable stamina. When I became a consultant, I would sometimes receive a call from the theatre late on a Thursday afternoon (that was Ian’s operating day) – could I come down to theatre and give him a break for half an hour - he had been operating on a single case since that morning. I would do as requested and after a suitable break, he would be back in the theatre for another three or four hours to complete the procedure, often finishing at 10pm or 11pm in the evening. I couldn’t do this on a regular basis and I was over 20 years younger than him.”
Dr. Bailey published widely both during his time in Africa and also in Northern Ireland with almost thirty scientific publications covering a wide range of neurosurgical topics. 
His professional reputation took him far and wide, with stints in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and elsewhere, assisting colleagues and patients with his usual diligence and proficiency.
In later years he further developed his interest in philately, pursuing this passion with his characteristic diligence and attention to detail, and which was recognised through the gold and silver medals, cups and prizes, won for his displays at the North of Ireland Philatelic Society, at the Irish National Stamp Exhibition and the Royal Philatelic Society.
His deep involvement with many aspects of life in Fermanagh will be greatly missed: he was a member of local Probus Club and the Fermanagh Knot, served on the committee of the Friends of Fermanagh County Museum, and was a member of the select vestry of The Priory Church, Killadeas.
He is survived by his wife Ruth, sons Christopher and Michael, daughter Caroline, daughters-in-law Frances and Desiree, son-in-law Daniel, and grandchildren Matthew, Alice, Oscar, Freya, Oliver and Hugo.