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June 28th 2021

Alan Harrison

Today is the Club Assembly to hear about the Rotary year ahead which commences on 1st July.

Forthcoming Speakers and Events
Jul 5th Presidential Handover.
Jul 12th Patrick Hamilton Walsh, former member, speaking from Stockholm.
Jul 19th David Ellis – How Rotary is perceived by the public.
Jul 26th Gavin Walker, Rotary Club Bangor “Lend with Care, microfinance”
Aug 9th Eamonn Allen
Aug 16th Heritage Week
Aug 23rd Alan Gilmore
Aug 30th TBA
Sep 6th Business Meeting

President Alan Davidson, was in the chair last Monday, and there were seventeen members and two guests in attendance by Zoom.
Thought for the Day
President Alan, speaking at his penultimate meeting as President, before the presidential handover on 5th July, reminded us that last Monday was the “Longest Day” which of course has all sorts of meanings and implications for various people down through history. However, coming right back to the present Alan said that he had a bottle of fizz in the fridge and he planned to enjoy it on the beach in Malahide that sunny afternoon, and not on his own either ! Reverting to history Alan reflected that the foundation stone for St. Paul’s Cathedral, London was laid on 21st June in 1675 and that it took thirty three years to complete the cathedral, but Alan invited all to agree that it was worth waiting for.

Visitors and Apologies

Past President Tom O’Neill introduced two visitors. These were Anna Harrison and Marie Louise Mueller.
President Alan welcomed both of our guests. He hoped that we would get to meet Marie Louise in person sometime soon. No mention of meeting Anna !
Apologies were received from PP Ethna Fitzgerald, Roger Owens, PP Paul Martin and PP Derek Griffith.

Rotary Rangers Schedule
Rotary Rangers have recommenced weekly walks under the resourceful guidance of PP Brian George, who is the contact for details. Forthcoming adventures are:

June 29th The Spink, Glendalough
July 6th Lough Brays (2), Glencree Valley
July 13th UCD Outer Paths, Belfield
July 20th Kanturk and Scarr, Lough Dan
July 27th Howth Head.

President’s Announcements
• President Alan said that a while ago he had hoped to organize a trip to the Botanical Gardens. This had been a most enjoyable outing last year. After some discussion at the meeting, it was agreed with President Alan to have the outing on Thursday 24th June at 11am. Honorary Secretary Tony was asked to circulate the details to members. As Thursday morning was a fine morning, it is assumed that all those taking part had an enjoyable outing.

• President Alan said that he has been in touch with the Grand Canal Hotel about getting back together for a real lunch. This is still under review by the hotel and members will be informed when it is possible.

• President Alan also stated that he had received a visit from Assistant Honorary Treasurer Tony Murray who had turned up at his house with cheques, one in the sum of €10,000.00 for St. Vincent de Paul and the second for €1,000.00 for the Zamda charity, Kabwe, Zambia [ ]. President Alan was due to meet with Dick Sweetnam, representing the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to hand over to Dick the cheque for €10,000.00 being the proceeds of the Virtual Remembrance Tree and also the President’s Auction. Then, at the same time President Alan was to hand over the cheque for €1,000.00, from the funds raised at the President’s Auction, to Pat Fannin, representing Zamda, outside the Grand Hotel, Malahide on Friday 25th June, but both had to be postponed last Friday. Watch for another date.
Hon Secretary’s Announcements
• It is that time of the year when annual subscriptions are about to fall due. Hon Secretary Tony has or will be sending out notices about this shortly.
Members wishing to speak
• Eamonn Allen and Delma Sweeney said that the quiz on Wednesday 16th June went well and the technology all worked smoothly. The winner, with a score of 55 points was Paul Egan. Geraldine Hamilton and Deirdre Kinsella came second with 54 points. The winners in the draw were Tony Murray, Tony McCourt and Bernadette Mulvey. We do not have a final figure for how much was raised, but it seems to be of the order of €1,000. Well done to all involved and to Delma and Eamonn and Dermot Knight in particular.

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.
George Eliot

Last Week’s Speaker
Introducing our speaker last week for a second week running, Delma Sweeney introduced Claire Casey, Restorative Practices Manager at Child Development Initiative (CDI). Restorative Practices are one of the services provided by CDI. It involves handling conflict in a positive way. Delma said that from this it is clear that Claire’s work and goals have a considerable overlap with those of Rotary.
Claire Casey thanked Delma and Rotary for inviting her, and said that she was really grateful for Rotary for its support of the Dolly Parton Library project. This assists families with children from zero-five years by sending to each child a book on a monthly basis, who might not otherwise have books. The Restorative Practices (RP) were introduced by CDI in 2010 and it has really taken off. The Restorative Programme has trainers nationwide. The slides shown by Claire set out, in an evidenced way the methodologies used. The intention is to build good relationships, prevent escalation of any conflict and to handle conflict in a healthy manner. It applies to children and adults.
Restorative Practices had been introduced in New Zealand and Canada in the late 1970s and have since spread across the world. (See the Toolkit slide).
There are a number of approaches to the use of restorative practices and these include language, conversations, and meetings. Claire said the training sessions can be on two mornings apart and can be extended and invited Rotary members to avail of free sessions (see below).
Asked how do people contact CDI, Claire suggested that it should be through Google or social media. It can also be found by searching for Tusla, the Child and Family organization. CDI has sixteen people in the head office, ten working on a full-time basis and six part-timers. They charge for training as part of their own fundraising.
Jonathan Pim related that training also takes place in prisons. Claire Casey confirmed that she is an Alternative to Violence (AVP) project volunteer. Claire also said that they give training in ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Claire confirmed that the use of CDI is not affected by the recipient having mental health conditions.
Claire then gave us examples of the use of CDI:
In schools – there has been a huge input and support from the Department of Education (DOE) to have CDI in all schools the past number of years. Schools which take CDI classes throughout the school find the biggest positive outcome, particularly in relation to bullying in the school. An example of this was in 2017 when a guidance counsellor rang Claire Casey and related a restorative practice meeting where the parents of the child who was alleged to have bullied came in to thank the teacher and guidance counsellor for the positive effect of RP. This was further exemplified by the head or principal in a primary school which had undertaken Restorative Practices and who had not expelled or suspended any child in the last nine years of his term as principal which was quite different to the period before the introduction of RP.
A voluntary group in Tallaght that has run camps for children in Tallaght found itself in difficulties among the volunteers. This was resolved by a practitioner who facilitated an RP meeting. Prior to that the group had run into difficulty. It thanked the facilitator of the RP meeting which enabled the group to hear each other, to resolve differences so that the volunteers could stay on as part of the programme.
Claire Casey then related that the current Programme for Government includes a Restorative Justice module which is to be expanded throughout Ireland. Since 2001-2003 Garda Liaison Officers have been trained in Restorative Justice. This assists victim of crime as it provides answers for the victim, when both parties are willing to participate.
Restorative Justice reduces re-offending. In 2016 scans revealed that the amygdala in certain offenders was underdeveloped. The BBC drama ‘Time’ gives the viewer a realistic glimpse into a restorative justice process.
Claire Casey offered Restorative Practice training for free to Rotarians and those interested should email and explain that you are from the Rotary Club of Dublin. Claire Casey firmly believes that the training can change one’s brain. President Alan interjected at this point to say that in general that we listen to reply, not to understand, which is why we should be listening.
Rotarian Mary O’Raffery asked what is the difference between Restorative Practices and Mediation. Clair Casey replied that in Restorative Practices there is a different process. In Mediation a mediator needs to be neutral. The RP facilitator is on everyone’s side in the conflict. In this regard Claire Casey said that she did not find mediation useful in dealing with personal conflict (although of course it can be very useful in dealing with the outcome of conflict which may require settlement of dispute – Ed).
Rotarian Frank Bannister then reminded that there is a wide spectrum in crime, on the one side traumatism from serious assault and even murder, and on the other side non physical harm such as fraud. Claire Casey said that RP has worked in both ends of the spectrum in almost every aspect of crime. In the Irish Personal Victims Act 2017, there are a number of crimes listed, but not sex offences or murders. Both parties must agree to the process, and judges strongly recommend it. There should be more about Restorative Practices in the public domain in the next three years due to governmental support.
Past President Ted Corcoran asked about the books that we had been asked to collect to support the Dolly Parton project. Claire Casey said, to some amusement, that the books collected would not of course be suitable for children zero – 5 years, but that the funds collected from those who also provide the books (you are asked to subscribe €20 to the Dolly Parton project via PP Bernadette Mulvey) to go towards the purchase of suitable books which are read to, with and by children as they progress from zero – 5 years of age. Contact Bernadette to have your books collected.
Mary O’Rafferty, in thanking Claire Casey, as a former primary school teacher herself, and now a trainer, said that the impact of Restorative Practices on children in schools is evident as was the great passion that Claire Casey displayed for her subject.

When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly. George Washington, Letter to Edmund Pendleton (22 January 1795).

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