The Rotary Club, Dublin

Founded 22nd February 1911

The Dubliner

All the news that's fit to print

President: Mariandy Lennon

Hon. Sec.: Tony Keegan

Telephone 087 244 2818 

Volume 26 Issue 33 

13 April 2020


Alan Harrison

Frank Bannister

David Booth

Delma Sweeney

Dermot Knight

Today is a public holiday – Easter Monday, so there is no meeting.


President Mariandy Lennon chaired our meeting on Monday 6th April. The online meeting was hosted by Dermot Knight through President Mariandy and Hon. Secretary Tony Keegan gave the invocation.


Forthcoming Speakers and Events

20th Apr           Our member John Costello on Spirituality

27th Apr           Niamh Clowry from Toastmasters

1st May             Public Holiday – no meeting

8th-10th May     Leonardo da Vinci weekend in Vienna. CANCELLED.

10th May          Rotary Club Dublin Book Club meeting online. Contact Rotarian Delma Sweeney.

23rd May          Please note that Masquerade Ball has also been deferred until later in year.

1st June           Public Holiday – no meeting


Rotary Rangers Walks

All walks are cancelled until further notice due to COVID 19 restrictions and guidelines.

If interested, members and friends should contact Past President Brian George or Honorary Secretary Tony Keegan for further details about time and place to meet for any of the walks, when they resume.



The attendance at last week’s meeting was: President Mariandy, PE Alan Davidson; Alan Harrison; VP Alexander Kopf; PP Bernadette Mulvey; PP Brian George; Brian Taylor; Ciara Nic Carthaigh (speaker); David Horkan; Delma Sweeney; Derek Byrne; Dermot Knight; Dorothy Hannon; Houghton Fry; Jonathan Pim; PP Kevin McAnallen; Marian Quinn (speaker); Mary O'Rafferty; Roger Owens; Stuart Dicker; PP Ted Corcoran; PP Tom O’Neill; PP and Hon Sect. Tony Keegan; Assistant Hon Sec Tony McCourt. There were apologies from Sonia and Reinaldo Crepaldi.                                                                                                                                                                  

We had no visitors other than our speakers, both from the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) in Tallaght West, Co Dublin.


President’s Announcements

President Mariandy advised the meeting that Marita, dear wife of our member Willi Widmer, had passed away and expressed condolences on behalf of the Club to Willi and his family.


President Mariandy reminded us of the cancellation of a number of events due to the Covid 19 virus, including the 2020 Rotary International Convention. Mariandy suggested we are check in with another member to see how they are.


Members wishing to speak

To further develop The Dubliner in this time of restriction, the editors of the Dubliner are hoping to include the outcome of brief interviews by the editors with members under a new ‘Getting to know your neighbour’ heading. Rotarian Delma encouraged members to respond with information about themselves which is novel and could be a talking point at future lunchtime meetings when they resume.


President Mariandy has offered to provide a wellness programme for members online.


Overview of

Dermot Knight gave us an overview of how to use, which he is kindly providing for us to use.


Honorary Member Alice Leahy

Rotarian Jonathan Pim advises that the Alice Leahy Trust founded by our Hon. Member Alice Leahy has decided to close their premises in Bride Street for the duration of the Covid 19 emergency due to the fact that they would be unable to effect social distancing because of their cramped conditions. Jonathan remembers Alice’s career so far.


Alice started her career as a nurse in what was then Baggot Street hospital, but her care and concern for others soon landed her in a basement in Iveagh Building in Bride Street, Dublin. Her office was called TRUST and it was to that office that the homeless could come when they needed some friendly attention – a shower, some dry clothes, medical or podiatric services.  They were and are the people whose bodies are ravaged by disease and violence and who may have pressure sores from sleeping out or sleeping in urine soaked clothes. They are always welcomed and no questions are asked, nor are there any forms to be filled.  Many would be regulars.


In recent years the “new Irish” have sometimes presented problems of language, while drugs and alcohol have become more difficult to cope with and have presented new problems, but Alice and her staff could melt anyone’s heart. This does not mean that Alice was a soft touch. Many an officer in the City Council and the HSE has felt the force of her argument when she was trying to make a point.


In the small premises of Trust it is impossible to keep visitors the required distance apart. If a visitor tested positive it would be almost impossible to trace the contacts. Trust’s own staff needed to be protected too.


Alice is one of our longest serving honorary members. Her links with the Rotary Club Dublin go back at least 20 years.  We started helping her with the collection of good used clothes for TRUST, clothes that Rotarians found that they no longer needed. She mainly needed men’s clothes, but in recent years women have been calling to her as well. She was elected to honorary membership in 2008 and was extraordinarily proud of her Paul Harris Fellowship certificate. It hangs on the wall of her office for all to see. Our lunchtime meeting did not suit her schedule, and Alice was not able to attend our lunches often. But she loved to come on special occasions and on a number of these she spoke to us of her work.


We look forward to the reopening of the Alice Leahy Trust when the Covid 19 difficulties are behind us.


Our Book Club

The book chosen by Mariandy for our next Rotary Book Club meeting is "Beneath a Scarlet Sky" by Mark T. Sullivan.  The meeting is on 10th May. We have been meeting in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, monthly before lockdown and our last meeting was online.


Our book club had its first meeting in January 2019. starting with about 6 and growing to 10 members currently.  The books reflect our members tastes with a wide range of styles such as "Americanah",  by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, "Death at Intervals" by Jose Saranago,  "Gilead" by Marilyn Robinson, "The Coral Island" by R.M. Ballantyne, "In the Time of Butterflies" by Julia Alverez, "End of Days" by Jenny Erpenbeck.  "When all is Said" by Anne Griffin was favourably reviewed by the club and "Snow Falling on Cedars" by ‎David Guterson was a favourite of our club readers.


We have had much debate and fun, with one reader famously saying that he "almost liked the chosen book" !  We welcome new members, who can join by letting us know of their interest. Contact is Rotarian Delma Sweeney.



Last Week’s Speakers

On Monday 6th April our speakers were from the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) in Tallaght West, Co Dublin. They were Ciara NicCarthaigh: Business Development Manager ( and Marian Quinn: Chief Executive Officer (

Ciara is responsible for the development and delivery of CDI’s business development strategy. Ciara’s experience is in non-profit areas in Ireland and overseas. Over the past six years, as a senior manager and as a consultant, her work has focused on providing strategic and operational support to organisations and programmes working on child rights, education and early literacy. She has an MSc in Development Studies and is currently completing a PhD in education on early literacy and language with UCD.

Marian’s career has been focused on children, young people and families. She has worked in the Health Services Executive and the Department of Justice as well as working directly with young people in both community youth services and Youthreach. Marian holds a Masters in Adult Education, a BSc Honours in Youth and Community Work and is a qualified Life and Business Coach.

CDI’s vision is to improve outcomes for children, families and communities in Tallaght West and beyond, with a mission to respond to need and drive change by supporting, promoting and enhancing high quality, evidence-informed services for children and families.

It’s main Principles are :

  • To prioritise prevention and early intervention approaches in disadvantaged communities, which utilise evidence and respond to need;

  • To encourage collaboration and shared learning amongst all stakeholders; raise awareness of roles and responsibilities; transparently share information; challenge how we work; ensure value for money, and work in partnership to find solutions together;

  • To consciously work to foster and maintain positive relationships with all stakeholders.

Marian Quinn thanked our club for its support for the Dolly Parton Library project in Tallaght West. Marian had got to know Delma Sweeney through a Restorative Justice meeting. Ciara spoke about the CDI not for profit programme initiated in Tallaght, and intended to spread across the country. It is aimed at children from ante-natal to 3 years and includes literacy, therapy, and conflict resolution. It teamed up with the Dolly Parton Foundation in 2018. The DP Imagination Library provides a book each month for free to a child from birth to age 5.

In the Tallaght West area, 40/45% of the families live in what would be termed as disadvantaged areas, and as many as 25% of the homes would possess less than 9 books. Ciara said that the Library provides the books at cost (usually €1.36 instead of €8.12 retail). An Post absorbs all the postage costs. So the CDI has to arrange the packaging and addresses. Last year they raised from many sources €80,000.00 towards the 50,000 books distributed. Over 69% of the families in the Tallaght West area have enrolled, with over 5,000 parents becoming engaged with the organisation. So the contribution of this club through the quiz organised by Veronica Kuznovska and the trust fund was most welcome.  

Since founding the Imagination Library in 1995, Dolly Parton Imagination Library has donated over 100 million books to children.


Following the talk there was time for questions. Asked by PP Ted if the children maintain the interest in books, Ciara said it is too early judge as yet, as the project is only a year old, but it is something they wish to encourage. In answer to a question from President Mariandy, Marian explained that the interest and engagement of the parents is through an email they receive offering to assist the children with reading, learning assessment, library help. Many parents have become involved in fundraising. The books are the same as those chosen by a committee on which Ireland is represented for the Irish and British readers, but for the moment are mainly by British authors, save for the last book the child receives at age 5 which is by Oscar Wilde – The Star Child.     

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