His research regarding poverty had an international impact and directly influenced policy on a local, national and international scale.
He warned against the indiscriminate re-housing of families living in poverty. In one of the districts under his supervision a whole section of the population had been moved from slums into model housing (Mount Pleasant estate) but the death rate of those moved to the model housing increased instead of decreasing.
He demonstrated that the reason for the increasing death rate was that the people had to pay more for rent and furnishings and had less money to spend on food. The poorer diet impacted more greatly on the mortality rate than the beneficial move to better housing.
Known by Evening Gazette as the 'Housewives Champion', Dr M'Gonigle is already recognised by a plaque in the Town Hall as public recognition of the contribution he made to the health and well-being of Stockton.