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 36 

11 May 2020


Alan Harrison

Frank Bannister

David Booth

Delma Sweeney

Dermot Knight

Today‘s speaker is our own member, PP Ted Corcoran, whose topic is “All is changed, changed utterly”.


Last week President Mariandy chaired our virtual meeting.


Forthcoming Speakers and Events

18th May          Ken Dixon, Belfast Rotary President-Elect.

25th May          Willie Maxwell, Rotary Fingal on District Plans for Community/Vocational 2020/2021.

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 when they will resume.



At last week’s virtual meeting there were 24 attendees including our speaker.



There were no virtual visitors.



PP Tony Gannon, Brian Taylor, Veronica Kunovska, PP Ken Hunt, PP Michael Carroll, VP Alexander Kopf, Rana AlDamin and PP Derek Griffith.


President’s Announcements

We asked president Mariandy would she like to write something about her own experience with Covid-19. The following her reply.


The impact of this Covid 19 pandemic hit me when I attended the funeral of my sister-in-law, Sister Anne of the Holy Faith. Everyone has heard about the restrictions imposed on funerals, but to experience it is surreal! It is comparable to no other experience, standing apart from each other and limited only to 10 of us, all family members. It dawned on me again how important the human touch is - as we stand two meters apart, without a handshake, without a hug to share the grief. I guess when normality is reinstated, people will realise many of the things that we have taken for granted


Most of all, I hope that mankind will have learned to be generous and kind to one other - in thoughts, in words and in deeds and to take actions, no matter how small, to show immediate concern and care. But as psychologists agree, the " egos “ that some people may have are a stumbling block and working towards having a healthy ego might take a lifetime for some, depending on their mental and emotional state.


I have never been busier in my coaching years as I am today and my chatrooms are full. Some people, mostly my old clients from different time zones, are anxious, unhappy or depressed these days. In my way, I am glad to be present in their lives where I am needed.


All I could say is “this too will pass away”. Thanks to social media and global links I can still reach people with my Recharge Me programme: for a healthy mind and body.


Hon Secretary Announcements

Hon Secretary Tony reported that members have to date contributed €1,480 from 18 members to the €2,500 expended by the Club for sandwiches for the frontline healthcare staff in the Mater Hospital.


Members wishing to speak

We did not record any matters made by members last week.


Our new website: Creating your profile in our Members’ section

Two weeks ago we covered how to open your member account on our new website. Each member should have received a code by email enabling them to do this. In the event you did not receive this email (or had any issues) please email Dermot.


This time we show you how to create your profile.


Your profile is how other members will see you in the member area. Firstly, a quick word on privacy. Your profile is only visible to members of our club who have chosen to set up their accounts. This part of the website is not public and requires authentication to access it. You also choose what to share and can amend this at any time.


Setting up your profile can facilitate better contact with other members. It is the online equivalent of the name tags we wear at lunch, enabling us to put names to faces. It also offers a way to find member details quickly and provides an easy way to contact them.


  1. Go to

  2. Click on the Member button and Login.

  3. Click on Amend your profile.

  4. Choose the details you would like to share (e.g. email add; mobile number).

  5. If you would like your profile to have a picture, click on the photo icon and upload your choice.

  6. Click “make public” and your profile will now be visible to other members.


As always we are open to new ideas and feedback, as we continue to develop this resource.



Learning more about us: Rana AlDamin


One way in which our club has changed over the past decade is that we are benefitting from the presence of an increasing diversity of members from different countries. One of these is Rana.

Rana was born in Saudi Arabia and educated in Jordan, but is actually Palestinian and, as you might expect, she is fluent in Arabic. In Jordan, she studied to be what is called a clinical pharmacist, a form of training that is more common now, but at the time was only available in Jordan and Australia. A clinical pharmacist works closely with the consultants and doctors in a hospital in devising treatment plans for patients. On qualification, she became, for a while, a lecturer in one of Jordan’s universities while also working as a pharmacy manager – the latter a role that was later to become important in her career.

While still in Jordan, she had her first child, a daughter, but shortly afterward, in 1999, she moved to Ireland where her two other children (both boys) were born. With three young children at home, she decided to put her career on hold to look after them until they were all old enough to go to school.

Unfortunately, getting back into her chosen career in Ireland proved challenging because (as is common in professions) her qualifications from Jordan were not formally recognised so she had to undergo a process known as ‘adaptation’. This was made more complicated and frustrating by a proposed change in the legislation at the time which took over five years to go through the Dáil. As she was unable to start her adaptation period until the bill was signed into law, this caused a hiatus in her career.

Nothing if not enterprising, she switched to ICT landing a job as account manager in a start-up technology company - eventually rising to the role of sales director. However, her goal was always to get back to her first love, pharmacy, and, as soon as the restriction on her working in this field was lifted, she quit the world of ICT to start her adaptation period by working as a dispenser for two years, a time during which she benefitted from being mentored by a number of her colleagues.

Since qualifying to work professionally in Ireland, Rana has worked as a pharmacy manager for Boots in various locations including Bray, Glenageary, Dun Laoghaire and Donnybrook. However, last year she decided that she wanted a change of scene and moved to the well-known flagship Hickey’s pharmacy in Grafton street – a family business still managed by Paddy Hickey and a place where she loves working. Meanwhile she is studying for a further qualification in regulatory affairs in (Bio) at Limerick University, and working as pharmacist mentor and peer support pharmacist for the Irish Institute of Pharmacy.

Rana’s three children are still in the education system, though now nearing the exit! Her daughter is doing a masters in chemical engineering, her middle child is doing his internship in computer science working in Amazon while her youngest has recently started engineering in Trinity.

Like all health professionals, Rana has been working flat out, often working 12 hour days, during the Covid-19 pandemic. When she is not working she likes brisk walking, boxing and karate (in which she holds a brown belt – the one just before black – you have been warned). She is currently (God bless her) reading Ulysses for the first time.



Last week’s speaker

Derek Byrne introduced our speaker for the day, Maxine Hyde. Maxine is a UCC commerce graduate who has worked in her family business - Ballymaloe Foods - for 11 years (and, incidentally, Derek’s daughter-in-law).


Many of you will know the legendary cooks in the Allen family and their flagship restaurant at Ballymalloe House 30 miles from Cork city. Myrtle Allen’s daughter, Yasmin Hyde, believed there was a retail and food service opportunity for one of Ballymaloe’s best recipes, a tomato relish, and with this in mind she set up Ballymaloe Foods in 1990.


Starting in a very small way, Ballymaloe Foods has grown steadily over the last 30 years and now has a turnover of €6 million. The Original Relish has become an iconic Irish product found all over Ireland. The range has also grown to include pasta sauces, beetroot, salad dressings and more.


Currently exports represent 20% of the total turnover, but this is largely to the UK as the English in particular have a taste for relish that the continental Europeans largely do not share. Brexit is a dark cloud on the horizon and there is a lot of uncertainty about what it will mean for sales into the British market as well as for purchases from suppliers in the UK. For example, since we no longer produce sugar in Ireland, this is currently sourced in Britain. Another worry is whether the ‘landbridge’ from continental Europe though Britain will continue to be as easy to uses as it is now. Shipping to the continent via France is always a possibility, but it is more expensive and there are far fewer sailing times to France than across the Irish Sea.


35% of Ballymaloe Foods sales are to Food Service distributors, who have been badly affected by Coronavirus, but although the retail market has softened the effect of this has been offset by the exceptional growth in the Pasta Sauce range which has seen a 200% increase in sales from the same period last year (4 weeks March/April versus same period 2019)


Various members thanked Maxine for taking time to talk to us and there was a number of points and questions.


Mary O described her visit to Ballymalloe as memorable and wonderful. Brian George had routed himself through that part of the world in his early days of his marketing career and praised the special atmosphere of the place. Jono Pym had fond memories of the Allens. David Booth had spent a special night there with a noted Mexican guitarist, Miguel Angel, at the invitation of Rory Allen when a musical evening was arranged for the designer John Rocca and his family. Derek Byrne thanked Maxine and said that he had seen Ballymalloe relish for sale in a Woolworth’s as far away as Sydney alongside Barry’s tea, but was disappointed that it was found in a section marked ‘U.K. Foods’. That’s quite an export achievement nonetheless.


Ted Corcoran asked what difference, if any, was there between the cost of glass and plastic. Maxine explained that glass was 25% cheaper and a more attractive option in operational terms. Frank Bannister was surprised to hear that the Irish sugar industry was completely dead and asked if the firm was looking for replacement suppliers on the continent for ingredients like sugar. Maxine said that for the moment they were happy with the quality and price of their main British suppliers. Continental ones tended to be more expensive and had more difficulties logistically.


The vote of thanks was given by Roger Owens

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