The Rotary Club, Dublin
Founded 22nd February 1911
All the news that's fit to print
President: Alan Davidson
Hon. Sec.: Tony McCourt
Telephone 087 241 7185
Volume 27 Issue 03
20 July 2020
Today’s speaker is Li Yan who will talk about China in the early days of Covid-19.
Forthcoming Speakers and Events
Next week Derek Bell. Retirement in our time.
Aug 3rd Bank Holiday
Aug 10th PP Paul Loughlin – The PhD Process
Aug 17th John Bruder. Best practice in construction, world-wide.
Aug 24th DG Conny Oversen.
Aug 31st Helen Perkins – Visiting 80 Rotary Clubs!
Rotary Rangers Walks
Jul 21st Lough Brays (2), in clockwise order, Upper Glencree Valley West.
Jul 28th Phoenix Park .Led, and history narrated by Tony Keegan.
Social distancing rules will apply. More details are available from PP Brian George.
Apologies & Invocation
Hon Secretary Tony McCourt presented apologies for non-attendance from PP Brian George, Derek Byrne, Rana AlDamin, Patrick White, Alan Harrison, Jono Pim and IPP Mariandy Lennon.
The invocation was given by Frank Bannister. Upcoming invocations will be by:
Jul 20th Jono Pim
Jul 27th David Booth
At last week’s virtual meeting there were 16 attendees. Including one visitor, Hecham Cherifi who was in Mont St. Michel enjoying somewhat better weather (27C) than most of the rest of us.
President Alan told members about the upcoming article in the Senior Times that had been written by Frank Bannister. He asked Frank to say a few words about it. Frank said that it had by PP Tom O’Neill’s brainwave. The article was about how the club had managed the transition to cyberspace and about Rotary itself. It is available on-line at:
Tom said that he expected that it would be in the print version this coming weekend. It was suggested that a link to the on-line version be put on the club website.
Continuing, Alan said that he had been at the GCH on Friday last and has had an enjoyable and socially distanced cup of coffee with PPs Bernadette and Ethna. He would be there again this coming Friday if anybody would like to join him.
Alan said that the Council meeting the preceding Thursday have over-run the hour set for it by two minutes for which he apologised. All of the existing Honorary Members had been unanimously re-elected for the coming year.
David Horken was in touch with PP Ken Hunt who had fallen off his bicycle and was currently in St. Vincent’s hospital recovering. David said that PP Guy Johnston had visited Ken and (Guy) said that any messages would be appreciated. The club sent him our best wishes. Houghton Fry added that he knew Ken’s son Alan and that Alan said that Ken’s ability to continue living on his own was being considered by the family.
PP Randal Gray had told him that his grandson, Logan, had had the operation mentioned in a previous meeting, but that he now needs specialist treatment for which he will have to go to Germany in a couple of months from now. A GoFundMe appeal to help Logan and his family with the expenses involved has been set up at https://gf.me/u/yfhpcs. Members who might like to donate can do so at this link.
Roger Owens was looking into more tax efficient ways of donating to Rotary. He invited Roger to say something about this. Roger said that he was working with the Trust Fund to establish what was required to achieve this. He could use the advice of a good tax accountant if anybody was expert in that field. If the Trust Fund is agreeable, members could sign a form (a CH3 for those familiar with it) and that this would enable the Trust to recover the tax paid on any donation. There was also the question of doing this for donations from abroad, for example the USA though Frank Bannister pointed out that under the changes in the US tax laws two years ago, it was not effective for US taxpayers to set off charitable donations against tax unless their donations were very large (over $20,000).
Hon Secretary’s Announcements
Hon Sec Tony said Council had met the previous Thursday and a number of decisions had been taken that were being circulated to members.
Members Wishing to Speak
There were no members wishing to speak who had not already done so.
Hand Sanitisers – Important to Know
At the editors meeting last week, the subject of hand sanitisers came up (don’t ask) and, after some research and with the help of our resident medical authority, Udo Reulbach, we came up with the following advice which you may find helpful.
There is a critical difference between bactericides and germicides. The former only kill bacteria and will NOT necessarily kill viruses or other pathogens. So, if you want something that will kill Coivd-19, you need to look for a germicide. Anything with 60% or more alcohol will do. Bactericide sanitisers are not useful unless they contain more than 60% alcohol (this will be on the label). However, for killing Corona virus good old soap, water and two verses of Happy Birthday are just as effective (and less hard on the skin). More information can be found at:
Last Week’s Quiz
Last week we had twenty questions. For those who could not make it or who decided that discretion was the better part of valour, here are the questions. The answers are at the end of the Dubliner.
1. Who wrote ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?
2. Julius Caesar was assassinated on 15th March, 44 BC. What is that date also known as?
3. What letter of the alphabet is not used in any state name in the USA?
4. From which musical does the song ‘Old Man River’ come?
5. In Snow White and the Seven Dwarves; how many dwarves are there whose names do NOT end in ‘y’?
6. Alfama is the historical centre of which city:
7. Selenography is a study of what exactly:
8. True or false? Rhubarb is a fruit.
9. Actors commonly do not refer to which Shakespeare play by name whilst inside a theatre?
Midsummer Night’s Dream?
10. How many versions of ‘The Scream’ did Munch paint?
11. What is the cube root of 343?
12. A sesquipedalian is someone who:
Has a sleep disorder?
Has lived with his mother all his days?
Uses elaborate language?
Is a marine scientific genius?
13. In which country is Schengen:
14. True or false? The Louvre is the largest
museum in the world.
15. What is the most abundant metal in the
16. Which Italian city is credited with being the birthplace of the pizza:
17. Who said: ‘An alcoholic is someone who drinks more than his doctor.’
18. Where is the GAA stadium ‘Semple Park’ situated:
19. What country produces more than half of the world’s olive oil:
20. What is the collective term for giraffes.
Learning More About Us - Ted Corcoran
Anybody who has been a member of our club for more than 24 hours will know that Ted is a Kerryman. In fact, he was born and raised about eight kilometres west of “Heavens Reflex” , AKA Killarney. Ted and his two younger siblings were raised by his maternal grandmother, Nan, after his mother passed away aged only 30. Ted was just seven years old at the time. He grew up in a small cottage without either electricity or running water. Nevertheless, a life-long love of reading was instilled in him by his grandmother. This stood him in good stead, as he won a Kerry County Council, scholarship, to attend St Brendan’s Seminary (now College) in Killarney, to which he cycled each day in all weathers. Secondary education was not free back then, as it is now, and without the scholarship there was no way his family could have afforded it. Even then, it was a struggle for the family.
After graduating with an Honours Leaving Certificate, including, believe it or not, in Latin and Greek, he was successful in a nationwide examination for clerical officers in CIE and duly moved to Cork to take up a position there. Some years later, in 1969, after meeting and marrying his wife, Celine, he was promoted to a position in the Rail Operations Office in Connolly station. He quickly advanced to progressively more demanding positions, including Stationmaster of Heuston where, as Ted jokes, there were platforms long before they were discovered by social media (ouch!) and thence to various senior positions in Operations, before spending the last decade before his retirement as Head of Safety for the entire organisation, reporting to the CEO.
Along the way, he was tasked with working with members of the Rotary Club, Dublin, in judging the Anglo-Irish Best Station Awards, in which railway stations in Ireland and Wales participated. Accompanying Jonathan Pim, the late James Gorman and Dudley Engert around various stations for a week resulted in an invitation to join the club, which he did in 1991. He went on to serve as club president in 2001/2002 and for several years has been our Trust chairman. At District level, he has served in Assistant District Governor and Membership roles and as a member of District training teams.
After reading an article in a newspaper in 1985, Ted attended the inaugural meeting of a new Toastmasters club in Clontarf. During a break, he was approached and invited to be the club’s first president: he agreed and so his Toastmasters journey began. Having won the District Humorous Speech final in London in 1988, he was elected to various leadership positions within the district, before being elected District Governor of District 71 (GB and Ireland) for year 1994/1995. Under Ted’s leadership, the district finished #2 in the world (which consists of almost 100 districts) and he received the Presidents’ Distinguished District Award at the International Convention in San Diego in August, 1995, an award reserved annually for the top six Districts worldwide.
Encouraged by many people to run for the position of International Director, Ted and his team organised a strong campaign in St Louis, Missouri, in 1996, and was duly elected, beating off candidates from Australia and the Philippines, thus becoming the International Director for the rest of the world outside North America. When his two-year term ended in 1998, and again encouraged by many people, he ran for Third Vice President, the first step to International President. A campaign team of some fifty friends and supporters descended on Miami, Florida, in August, 2000, where the election was being held during the course of the International Convention. In the election, after a hectic week of interviews, meetings, caucuses, speeches and day-long and late-night campaigning by his enthusiastic team, Ted was declared elected by a margin of 84% to 16% of votes cast, over his sole rival from next-door Georgia.
The intervening positions of Second VP and President Elect are not contested, so Ted was installed as International President in Atlanta, Georgia, at the International Convention there in 2003, thus becoming the first, and still the only, Irish and European person to hold this position in the 95 years since Toastmasters was founded in 1924.
As International President, he presided over an International Board of 23, and 200,000 members in 10,000 clubs in 90 countries, several of which he visited during his year of office. He is still heavily involved in many aspects of the organisation and is regularly invited to present and speak at district conferences worldwide.
Ted and Celine live in Baldoyle and are blessed with two married daughters, Sinead, who lives outside Oslo, in Norway, and Claire who lives just a ten-minute walk away. He often thinks of the sacrifices made by his grandmother Nan, then aged 70, and his father and grandfather, to ensure he got the education and start in life that enabled him to achieve what he did. To honour her memory, he named his latest book after a favourite saying of hers, “Hiring a Car and Walking After It”, a term she frequently used to denote a useless activity, or action. As Ted says, the unique part she played in his life could certainly never be described in these terms, but, rather, as an indispensable one of caring, educating and constantly encouraging – something for which will be forever grateful and will never forget.
Peace Pipe Proposal 1931 and 2020
The article below has been adapted by Delma Sweeney from information circulated to Rotary Clubs and from attendance at the Rotary Club Johannesburg’s meeting June 23rd at which Tony Conn and Yogi Reppmann spoke about this initiative.)
Eighty-nine years ago, the Rotary Club of Keokuk, Iowa sent 504 letters to almost all RCs outside of the United States. In 1931, the Club President at the time, Jewett Fulton, of the Rotary Club of Keokuk, Iowa (on the Mississippi) urged each of these Clubs to symbolically smoke the peace pipe with his club following the example of Chief Keokuk, a first nations chief in the club’s region. While visiting the World Convention in Vienna, Fulton must have sensed that something dangerous was brewing among the nations. At this time many were concerned about rising nationalism in Germany and many parts of the world and the danger of war. After his return to the United States he thought about how one might deal with the emerging conflicts and composed 504 letters on the typewriter. The numerous responses he received were found recently in a bank safe on the Mississippi River and are a wonderful example of international agreement. Letters were sent and returned from the first established Rotary club in each country. It seems likely that there is recorded correspondence to and from the Rotary Club, Dublin.
Today, the world situation is alarmingly similar as nationalism and ideologies that violate human rights are on the rise again. One question is – what a one-person project like can 1931 teach us today. What can we do as individuals for world peace?
In this context, a new peace pipe initiative has been inaugurated. Dr. Dan Shanit of the Jewish Rotary Club in Jerusalem has asked Tony Conn of Keokuk, Iowa, and Joachim (Yogi) Reppmann of Flensburg, Germany, to build a bridge to Palestinian RC East Jerusalem. Conn and Reppmann have accepted the invitation and are giving a PowerPoint presentation via Zoom on various related topics free of charge
Another Peace Pipe initiative is in South Africa. The need for African mediators fits the Rotary focus area of peace and conflict resolution. Since Rotary is a politically neutral body, it is trusted by communities. The plan is to establish mediation teams known as “African Mediators in Africa for Africa” in all Rotary districts of this region. -- The countries that will benefit are: South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Lesotho, Botswana, eSwatini, and Southern Mozambique.The Peace Pipe Initiative is instrumental in setting up this development.
We are invited to ask Tony Conn and Yogi Reppmann to present to our club, or to show their 20-minute videos, such as: Tony’s talk: (perspective Keokuk, Iowa, 1931 through 2020) which can be found at:
https://youtu.be/gxIKrzK4ngg, or you can read: The most amazing letter: on page 331, Letter from RC Jerusalem, Dec. 23, 1931 at:
1. Margaret Attwood. 2. The ides of March. 3. Q. 4. Showboat. 5. Two (Doc and Bashful). 6. Lisbon. 7. Lunar features. 8. False (it is a vegetable) 9. Macbeth. 10. Four. 11. Seven. 12. Over-elaborate use of language. 13. Luxembourg. 14. True. 15. Aluminium. 16. Naples. 17. Richard Burton. 18. Thurles. 19. Spain. 20. A tower.