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July 12th 2020

Delma Sweeney

Today’s presentation is by Honorary Member, Alice Leahy of Alice Leahy Trust.
Forthcoming Speakers and Events
Jul 19th Jul 26th Aug 9th
David Ellis – How Rotary is perceived by the public.
Gavin Walker, Rotary Club Bangor, “Lend with Care, microfinance” Eamonn Allen,” From Darkness into Light, a brief history of ESB”
Aug16th Aug 23rd . Aug 30th Sept 6th ,
Heritage Week Alan Gilmore
Business Meeting .
Last week President Alexander was in the Chair.
Visitors and Apologies
There were 21 club members in attendance.
At today's meeting we had apologies from PP Tom O'Neill, PP Tony Keegan, Alan Harrisson, PP Bernadette Mulvey.
We had four guests as follows:
President of Inner Wheel Helen Duffy, Vasily Ogievsky, Marie Mueller, Ola El-Garawany.
Rotary Rangers’ Schedule
Forthcoming Rotary Rangers’ outings are as follows: July 6th Lough Brays (2), Glencree Valley
July 13th UCD Outer Paths, Belfield
July 20th Kanturk and Scarr, Lough Dan
July 27th Howth Head.
Please contact PP Brian George for further detail about time and meeting place
President’s Announcements
Outgoing President Alan welcomed Incoming President Alexander and the president of Inner Wheel Helen Duffy. IPP Alan informed the meeting that he had handed over the Presidential Chain to Incoming President Alexander last Friday in the grounds of the Croquet Club, Herbert Park and announced that President Alexander is now Club President. The chair of the meeting
was then handed over to President Alexander who said a few words about the coming Rotary Year. A video of the physical handover of the Chain of Office on Friday last was then shown, photograph below of those attending.
President Alexander announced that the President Elect is now David Booth and the new Vice President is Delma Sweeney. The Hon Sec Tony McCourt continues in that office. PP Randal Gray having completed the maximum term of five years has handed over the role of Hon Treasurer to Dermot Knight and Tony Murray continues as Assistant Hon Treasurer.
President Alexander invited PP Mariandy to propose a vote of thanks to IPP Alan.
Mariandy congratulated IPP Alan on a very successful presidency, recognising that he was a Covid president in a difficult pandemic year. She said that there was no need for lamentation. Alan had done a good job. Mariandy then listed our club’s events for 20/21, the Duck Race, the provision of computers to a school, the online Quiz, Dolly Parton and Women’s Aid fundraising and District Grants. Our Christmas Party highlighted the reservoir of talents of the members of the club. Zoom meetings enabled our joining other clubs, celebrating international events such as the Joint Meeting with the Rotary Club of Sacramento to mark St Patrick's Day 2021 and connecting with clubs for the International Leonardo da Vinci Price Award
held by the Rotary Club Vienna this year. The online Auction was a very creative and successful idea lead by IPP Alan. He has lived up to our ideal in the face of adversity and Rotary Club Dublin is very grateful.
IPP Alan replied to the vote of thanks.

Other Contributions
Paul Harris Ceremonies
Getting to know you: Brian George
Past president Brian is, to use his own words, a war baby. He ermetres in from the high tide mark on Killiney beach. His (at this point still-to-be) father had joined the British army in 1939 with the aim of dealing with Adolf Hitler personally (not the only person who joined with that aim in mind one suspects).
The army had other ideas. Instead of serving on the European front, Brian’s father was posted to Burma - via Kenya. No theatre of the war was easy, but Burma must have been a formidable challenge for somebody brought up in the considerably cooler Irish climate – even in sunny south county Dublin. His father did make it home on leave however, first to marry Brian’s mother and, in 1941, to father Brian.
As a result of his father’s absence, Brian was brought up in the house where he had been born, i.e. his grandparent’s house overlooking Killiney beach. It was, he recalls, a happy childhood and a great place to grow up. His grandfather was amazing; a man of many talents particularly when it came to building things. And not just buildings. He did build his own house, a dance hall and tea rooms and eight chalets, but he also built twelve (!) rowing boats. By day, he was a carpenter; on summer evenings and weekends he fished for lobster.
Brian’s childhood home was a white cottage and was a wonderful place for a youngster to grow up. In the summer, the eight chalets would be filled with holiday makers so he never wanted for company and had many friends with whom he played. Furthermore, with twelve rowing boats from which to choose, he soon became adept on the water (not to say popular with his peers). Together they would regularly take a boat out and go fishing. His grandmother managed the chalets including looking after all of the marketing and letting. She was a great
President of the Inner Wheel Helen Duffy said a few words. She announced that Inner Wheel marks its 50th Anniversary with a lunch on the 5th Oct. to which President Alexander is invited.
Paul Harris Fellowships were presented by President Alan to Pat Fanning and Bernadette Mulvey at an event which took place outside the Grand Hotel Malahide on Wednesday 30th June.
Ceremonial Funding Presentations
On the 30th June President Alan presented cheques in the amount of €10,000 to Dick Sweetman representing St Vincent De Paul, and €1,020 to Pat Fanning representing Zamda.

cook to boot. Brian remembers summers of lobster and crab salads, but her repertoire was extensive. Fun, friends, sand, sea and oodles of good food. All recipes for happy childhood.
Although his father had returned when the war ended in 1945, Brian continued to live with his Grandparents until 1947 when the family moved to Dun Laoghaire. At the age of twelve he went to Kingstown school (older members from that neck of the woods may remember this school. It subsequently merged with Avoca school and became what is today Newpark Comprehensive). Brian’s sister was to join him in the school a few years later.
Kingstown (like Avoca) was a hockey playing school. Then, as now, relatively few boys schools played hockey, though many girls schools did. This was a sport at which Brian showed an early talent as well as a great passion, getting out on the pitch on every occasion that he could. He was eventually to become captain of the school hockey team.
Brian stayed in Kingstown until he was seventeen and, like most young people in that era, left school straight for a job, in his case with the household and industrial chemicals firm Albright and Wilson. Albright and Wilson had both manufacturing and distribution operations in Ireland at the time. Brian started in sales whilst studying at night for a degree in marketing. By the age of 23 he was already out on the road calling on chain supermarkets, wholesalers and smaller independent supermarkets. Albright and Wilson’s distribution arm distributed products in Ireland for a wide range of household names, manufacturers such as Proctor and Gamble (washing powders, cleaners and detergents), Kimberly Clark (Kleenex), Brooke Bond tea, Oxo and Johnson wax. This was an era, pre the opening up of the country that came with entry into the EEC, when there were large tariffs on imports. Albright and Wilson, like other distribution companies in Ireland at the time, imported in bulk and re-packaged locally. By doing this they could substantially reduce the import duties payable and make the price of goods both more competitive and affordable.
Brian had only been a salesman for two years when he was offered a promotion to the role of Brand Manager, the normal first step up in a sales career. His progression was rapid as only four years later he was appointed Marketing Manager. The impact of Sean Lemass’s reforms meant that during the 1960s the country had started to open up and, with the rapidly growing economy and the rise in disposable incomes, business boomed. Within a short time, Albright and Wilson were the largest grocery distribution business in the country in addition to being the agents for many US and UK based multinationals. By the early 1970s, the firm’s annual turnover in Ireland had risen to €300 million and Brian had been appointed a director of the

company. By this time, Albright and Wilson were operating from a custom built factory in Sandyford in county Dublin.
During the 1970s, the company was also going through the process of disposing of much of the parent company’s assets to the American automotive company Tenneco. As part of this, the Irish operation was spun off and sold to an arm of Allied Irish Banks. The new entity was given a new name: Allegro. Despite this disruption, Allegro continued to grow substantially both organically and by acquisition, one of its acquisitions being the well-known Roma food, a local manufacturer of pasta products.
Brian retired from the company after 40 years’ service (how many of today’s 20 somethings will ever be able to say that?). It had been a wonderful experience, working with some of the world’s greatest companies, some represented in Ireland by Albright and Wilson and others later by Allegro, for over 45 years.
Family aside, Brian’s major passion, when he was not in the office or out on the road, has been hockey, a sport with which he has had a lifetime association. He played for the Monkstown Hockey Club in Dun Laoghaire and served as match secretary and later as honorary secretary of the club. Brian is quite modest about his achievements which are formidable. At the age of 20, he was selected for the Leinster under-23s; he captained the team the following year. He did a trial for the senior Leinster team, but the player that he would have replaced was the current captain of the Irish team so, alas, it was not to be. He continued to play with Monkstown and is proud of the fact that he has now been a member of the club for over 60 years. He was made a life member in 2001.
Hockey is a sociable game and most of Brian’s social activities have centred around the club and its members. One year, after an informal discussion about going as a group on a sun holiday, it was decided instead to organise a playing tour of Holland (arguably the hockey capital of Europe then and now). This was a great success and was followed in subsequent years by trips to Germany and Spain. The club, originally based in Royal terrace in Dun Laoghaire, has for many years now played on the much more forgiving Astroturf pitch in Rathdown School. Today it has around 800 members of both sexes and all ages.
Despite not quite managing to displace the Irish captain from the Leinster team, Brian has been involved with hockey at a national level. He has been president of the Leinster branch and the Irish Hockey Union The latter stint included leading the Irish Hockey team on a tour of Australia during which Brian led the Irish party as President of the Irish Hockey Union.

Brian has three beautiful daughters (one of whom, Simone, will be well known to members) and two granddaughters. He and his partner Helen, the love of his life, have been together now for 20 years.

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