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 42

29 June 2020


Alan Harrison

Frank Bannister

David Booth

Delma Sweeney

Dermot Knight

Today we hold our Club Assembly 2020.

Last week President Mariandy chaired our 11th virtual meeting. PP Ted Corcoran gave the invocation.


Forthcoming Speakers and Events

Jul 6th              Presidential handover.

Jul 13th            Li Yan. China in the early days of Covid-19.

Rotary Rangers Walks


Jun 23rd           Sugar Loaf, Kilmacanogue.

Jun 30th           Greystones to Kilcoole.

Social distancing rules will apply. More details are available from PP Brian George.


Hon Sec Tony gave apologies from PP Tony Gannon, Brian Taylor, PP Ken Hunt, Alan Harrison, PP Randal Gray, Houghton Fry, and Kenneth Carroll.                                                                                                                              


At last week’s virtual meeting there were 25 attendees.  We had one Rotarian guest, Phil Godfrey, of the Solihull Rotary Club, UK, last week’s speaker. We had two non-Rotarian visitors, Patrick Kellegher introduced by Simone Nelson and Hechem Charifi, who, President Mariandy said may share his knowledge of vintage wines with us at a future meeting.

President’s Announcements

President Mariandy informed us that Council had agreed to support the Tours Rotary Club’s project and Global Grant for the provision of water to a community in Cambodia.  

She told us also about an email received about a Peace Pipe Project.  If anyone wished to join a teleconference on Tuesday 23rd June, they should contact her or Hon Secretary Tony for more information.   She had met with the German Ambassador Dieke Potzel, who sends greetings to the club and who will soon be able to have dinner at her home with the winner of the President’s raffle.


Members wishing to speak

PP Bernadette Mulvey told us that she had joined PP Ethna Fitzgerald for coffee and cakes outside the Grand Canal Hotel last week.  The manager of the hotel sat with them and informed them that hotel will open for Bed and Breakfast on 19th July and will be fully back in September. Bernadette told us that Women’s Aid are looking for sponsorship for an 80km walking Challenge for the month of July.  She has had a favourable response from women Rotary club members and asked that the Rotary Rangers consider taking this on.  Hon Secretary Tony said that he would circulate the information about this.

Tony shared the news that Randal Gray has had word that his grandson’s tumour was cancerous. Randal would appreciate prayers for his treatment and recovery. At Mariandy’s request the club members held a minutes’ silence to pray.

Kevin McAnallen thanked the scribes for the profile on Johathan Pim saying that he knew that Jonathan had travelled but had not known how widely.  Jonathan said that he calculated that there were 10 countries in the world he had not visited.

Frank Bannister alerted club members to his potential request for a profile in the coming weeks.

Mariandy congratulated David Horkan on his 50th Wedding Anniversary.


Last week’s speaker:

Our speaker last week was Phil Godfrey, of the Solihull Rotary Club, UK who spoke to us on Antiphospholipid Syndrome, or APS.  He was introduced by Derek Byrne, telling us about Phil’s travels, walking and on trains as an ambassador for the APS support group.

Phil told us that until 1970 APS was an unknown illness.  This is a condition of the blood that causes heart attack, visual loss, blood clots, rheumatism, thyroid problems and recurrent miscarriages.  Women with the condition are five times more likely to have a stillbirth. He gave the example of a teenager, Beth who had seven years of fainting and suffered with a stroke, before her doctor diagnosed APS. He said that he had never seen so many blood clots on her lungs. Another couple had 13 miscarriages before they were referred to Coventry Hospital, where APS was diagnosed and where following treatment they had a baby girl, Ivy.

The effects of APS are preventable; however, the condition is rare and most GPs do not know about this illness. The diagnosis has been shown to take three years on average.  In 1995 Phil’s wife had various symptoms.  Her hand became curled and she was told that she had multiple sclerosis. Ten years later she had lost the use of her limbs. Then her doctor changed her diagnosis to APS The symptoms of multiple sclerosis and Antiphospholipid Syndrome are very similar.

Phil has travelled 1,400 miles speaking about APS raising money for the support group for this illness.  He walked from LandsEnd to the Scilly Isles spreading the word about APS  There are no national figures. Italian research showed that of those going for IVF treatment in Italy, 10% had APS Then in 2018 Phil had an operation on his right knee and his doctor said he would have to stop walking.  Since then he has travelled 42,000 miles from Fishguard to Yarmouth by train. He has spoken to 161 Rotary Clubs and journeyed on 650 trains.  Phil had worked in railway management in his working life and travelled free, otherwise he would have run up a train ticket bill of €15,000. 

Phil responded to Mariandy’s question about the hereditary nature of APS saying that there is no proven research showing a hereditary gene, however Professor Hughes, a Rheumatologist who first diagnosed APS believes that there is a hereditary element to this condition. The main treatment is blood thinners for blood that is too thick.

Mary O’Rafferty praised Phil’s dedication and asked him about his motivation in spreading the word about APS.  He said that the words, “Go where God leads you” inspires him. And the words on a Swedish evangelising pastor’ tombstone, “He was persistent”.

Frank Bannister asked how he passed the time as he travelled.  Phil replied that he chatted to other passengers, he looked at scenery, read and slept.

Roger Owens asked how the funds he raised were used.  Phil said that the money all went to seed research, none to administration. Seed research is only possible at this stage.

PP Bernadette Mulvey gave the vote of thanks.

A discussion took place on who we would have as future guests at our meetings.  Mary O’Rafferty said that the incoming “Speakers” committee would welcome suggestions. 

Delma Sweeney reminded us of the circular about the Peace Pipe Proposal presenters who are offering to talk to any club.

Frank Bannister said that that Director of the Royal Academy of Music, Deborah Kellegher could tell us about the refurbishment of the Academy building. 

Alan Harrison suggested we conduct a “This is your life” with a member of the club.

Mariandy recommended asking international presidents to speak.

Bernadette Mulvey raised the possibility of holding a joint meeting with other clubs.

Alan Davidson told us that he had given a talk on his career and sample malt whiskey to the Rotary Club of Kenya.

Learning more about us:

In strictly geographical terms, Frank Bannister was born in the Rotunda hospital in Dublin, but as he spent the first 11 years of his life growing up in Sligo, he has always thought of himself as being out of the west. His education started at the Model school (now the Model Art Gallery) in Sligo and he subsequently attended Mountjoy (now Mount Temple) school in Clontarf before spending far too many years in Trinity College acquiring degrees in mathematics, music and statistics.

Studying was not always his main activity while at college. He was heavily into debating, winning the Irish Times debating competition in 1972. He was also into journalism, editing Trinity News and contributing to other college publications. He even briefly contemplated a career in journalism. Later, when he decided that doing a degree in music was a good way of putting off having to get a job, he conducted Trinity’s A Capella choir, College Singers, an experience that, he says, taught him more useful lessons about life than anything before or since. His work with the College Singers led to his being appointed conductor of Saint George’s Brass band – a post he held for ten years until the extensive travelling involved in his work obliged him to retire. He remains a trustee of the band. Pressed by his exasperated and long suffering parents to get a job, he ended up more or less by accident in the Irish civil service where, amongst other constructive activities, he wrote speeches for the late Martin O’Donoghue, did the background number crunching on the national wage agreements of the era and drank an awful lot of tea.

Working in the then newly minted Department of Economic Planning meant that the 1977 Fianna Fáil election manifesto was required reading. Seeing it actually being implemented put the fear of God into him so, being married to an American, he decided to move to the multinational private sector so that he could, if necessary, make a quick exit from Ireland when the economy inevitably went pear shaped. Again, almost by accident, he ended up in Price Waterhouse when, at a conference, ran into an old school friend (and former member of our club) David Algeo, who worked there. He joined PW as a management consultant in 1978. Despite a near miss, he never managed to get that transfer to the USA, but he did spend an enjoyable, if occasionally challenging, 16 years with the firm working mostly in Ireland, but occasionally in the UK, Switzerland and Kerry. During these years he became a well-known speaker on matters technological in Ireland and the UK as well as a regular contributor to Computer Scope magazine.

In 1994, he decided to retire from real life while he was still ahead and took up a (very) modest academic post in Trinity College - a move that meant considerably less income, but considerably more freedom. In 2000, he completed a PhD on the evolution of the use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) by the departments of Social Welfare and Agriculture from 1960 to 1997. While he had regularly written for industry magazines, since entering the publish-or-perish world of academia, he has, of necessity, published extensively, including over 100 peer reviewed articles and papers as well a couple of books. He was elected a Fellow of the university in 2007 and served as Secretary to the Fellows for two years as well as heading up the project to introduce anonymous marking into the College. Retirement has given him more time to write and he continues to contribute regularly to academic journals when he can sneak one past the reviewers. He was the founding editor of the Electronic Journal of e-Government and remains an Associate Editor for the two top journals in his field. Over the years he has carried out advisory work on various aspects of electronic government for the Irish government, the European Commission and the United Nations. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Advisors and Consultants and a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Frank’s interests include single malts, gothic cathedrals, the American civil war, reading history and crime fiction, trying to learn Italian and playing the piano out of earshot of anybody with whom he wishes to remain on friendly terms. Ten years or so ago (for those who like recherche projects) he embarked on a quixotic enterprise to learn to play all of Bach’s 48 preludes and fugues. At the time of writing he has six left to go and he hopes that he will live long enough to finish the job. Frank joined the Dublin Rotary club in 1993 and the following year he volunteered to save it a few bob by typing up the Dubliner for the then editor, Peter Ferguson. He has been one of the scribes ever since. His wife Ivy is a New Yorker and when there are no pandemics raging, they divide their time more or less equally between Ireland and the USA. They have two children, Richard and Andrew.



 Lunula: An Art Appreciation Co-Operative:    by Eamonn Allen, Friend of Rotary.                                                                                                         The Lunula Art Group was founded in 2019 following on from interest in Art generated by the very successful Rotary Art exhibition/auction in 2018 and inspired by the “Bellota Art Group” whose works were on display at that exhibition. The Bellota Group were of great assistance proving insights and materials that grounded the formation of Lunula.

Members are drawn from a combination of Rotarians from our own club plus people from a mediation background. All members have a keen interest in Art and a wish to support living artists by acquiring their works directly so as to maximise the financial benefit they receive. Artists in Ireland in Ireland struggle to make a living. Galleries selling their work take a substantial percentage of each artist’s sale.

The club name was agreed at the foundation meeting and is named after an ancient Irish Celtic art piece, a Lunula, a gold crescent-moon-shaped torc which dates from the early bronze age – 2400 to 2000BC. Of the 100 in existence, 80 were discovered in Ireland.

The aims of the club are

  • To learn more about different art forms

  • To support living artists resident in Ireland

  • To learn how to buy art works

  • To have fun doing all of the above

The club operates on the basis of a legal agreement which governs how the club is run. Briefly put, there are ten members in the group and each member makes a financial contribution €50 pm over the 20 months that is the initial commitment period. At the founding meeting a rota is agreed which sets out the schedule for purchase for the ten club members over the following 22 months.


Every two months one member the club is then able to acquire a piece of art to a value of €1,000. The art piece is then shared with other members of the group by rotation, by which each member has the opportunity to appreciate the art piece for two months. At the end of the rotation cycle (20 months) the art piece returns to the purchaser who is the outright owner of the art piece.


Meetings are scheduled every two months. They have been well attended and continue to operate virtually due to Covid19. Three arts works have been acquired to date with club members giving a presentation on their story about the acquisition. In two instances the artist has participated in the presentation. Feedback from the artists has been very positive about our club. We are all growing in terms of knowledge and our appreciation of art.

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