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November 30th 2020

Dermot Knight

Our speaker today is our own President Alan on the occasion of St Patrick’s Day. We will also be discussing becoming a Peace Building Club

Forthcoming Speakers and Events
Dec 7th Combined Annual/Special General Meeting.
Dec 14th Meeting cancelled
Dec 16th Christmas Party – on Zoom

Rotary Rangers Walks
Cancelled until further notice

At last week’s meeting we had 20 Members in attendance. We had apologies from Alan Harrison and PP Ethna Fitzgerald. We had one guest Eamon Allen, husband of our Foundation Chair Delma Sweeney.

Thought for the Day
PP Ted Corcoran gave a moving tribute to our friend John. D Carroll, whose funeral was the previous Saturday. Ted quoted from one of John D’s speeches in a fitting celebration of a Rotary life:
“There can come a day for every person when their foundations are shaken and the world is dark and there seems nothing to live for, but when everything else is gone the sense of duty remains.
The value of a person lies not in their social status but in their effectiveness.
The true value lies in the contribution a person can make to their community.
The true aristocracy lies not in lineage but in service.
All social claims are valueless and baseless unless they are backed by usefulness to the general community.
The important thing about every person is not their ancestry, but their future potential.”
John D Carroll District Governor 1983/84

(Another portion of the same speech is printed at the end of this edition)

President’s Announcements
• President Alan began the meeting by expressing club condolences on the passing of John D. He recognised the enormous impact he had had on both the Club and the District. He invited members to share memories in tribute him.
• He noted a number of clubs had contacted him to express condolences
• President Alan announced the Club’s move to Zoom – this is being done to facilitate break out rooms which will add a further dimension to our meetings online
• He reminded us of the SGM on 7 December and also the Christmas Party on the 16th December
• As the Lord Mayor has competing speaking engagements, she will not be attending our 14th December meeting, and therefore this meeting has been cancelled. Our last lunch meeting of the year is 7th December, and our last meeting of the year will be the Christmas Party on 16th December.

Member’s Wishing to Speak
• A number of members paid tribute to John D. PP Tony Keegan spoke about the time they worked together on the trustee account and paid tribute to his counsel and advice saying he was a gentleman and a good person to work with. IPP Mariandy had attended the funeral and was moved by the very inspirational Eulogy delivered by Kenneth Carroll. David Booth spoke fondly of an evening he was seated next to John D at a joint Belfast club meeting.

Last week’s Speaker
Our speaker last week was Gabe Hau, introduced by Mary O’Rafferty. Gabe is past president of RC Southbank and Rotary E-Club of Melbourne as well as a past Assistant Governor for the Riverside Cluster. He is currently the D9800 Peacebuilding Committee Chair.

Gabe began by expressing his condolences to the Club on John D’s passing and found the tributes very meaningful. He explained that his introduction to Peace Clubs came at the time of the Rotary Toronto Convention. He had signed up for one of the panels on peace run by the Institute of Economics and Peace. The discussion was around what makes peace and how can one make it happen. the partnership between Rotary and the Institute seemed well suited to combine the research on peace with taking action on peace.

Gabe introduced the Global Peace Index and showed us the ranking of various countries in terms of peace. The Global Peace Index has a number of different indicators including six measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict; 10 measures of social safety and security; and 7 measures of militarization.
What is peace? Gabe explained that there is negative peace which is defined as the absence of direct violence or fear of violence. Then there is positive peace which is concerned with attitudes institutions and structures that sustain peace. High levels of positive peace are associated with higher per capita income, resilience, better environmental outcomes, higher GDP growth per annum and better performance on SDGs. Gabe noted the crossover of many of Rotary's areas of focus with what he called the pillars of positive peace. He spoke about the process of becoming a peace building club and noting that Dublin would be the first club in Ireland become such a club. The requirements are to make a commitment to peace and to run a peace project every year.

President Alan asked about the specifics of the peace project required. Gabe responded that many of traditional club projects would fit within the criteria expected. Brian George noted that a lot of the clubs seemed to be based in the US and Gabe explained this was where they started. Delma Sweeney gave the vote of thanks.

A reminder that we are migrating to Zoom on Monday 30th of November.

Why the change?
We are creating more ways to interact during our meetings – and need some functionality that wasn’t available on our previous platform.

What will be different?
Not much! Zoom operates much the same as go to meeting did and therefore this should hopefully be an easy transition to make. Most of our members will have used Zoom before – but if you haven’t please download Zoom before following the link.

Any concerns?
If you would like some additional support please join a “clinic” at 11:00 AM on Monday 30th November.

Getting to Know You – Brian Taylor
Recently, after a long and distinguished career of service to the club, Brian became our latest Honorary Member. He is one of the longest serving members of Rotary in Ireland having first joined the Drogheda club in 1964, shortly before transferring to the Dublin club.

Brian was born in 1932 in Manchester and attended Amberley, a private school, before spending a period in the famous Manchester Grammar – entering the latter during the war years. To this day he vividly remembers bombing raids on Manchester during the war including one that destroyed a house in which his family had formerly lived. Grammar schools were designed to foster talent and most students were expected to go to university (or failing that, into accountancy or some other profession). Brian was no exception and went to Manchester University where he studied geology and geography, two bodies of knowledge that, he readily admits, he was never to use in his subsequent career.

In the early 1950s young men in the UK had to do national service. This normally started at the age of 18, but university students could defer until they completed their degrees. There was, however, another option called a short service commission under which you joined the regular defence forces as a trainee officer. Brian chose the latter, and signed up for officer training in the Royal Air Force (RAF) though he remained on the ground end of operations rather than aloft. One of the important things that you learned in the RAF was that if it moved, you saluted it, and it didn’t, you painted it. Of many stories from that time, he recalls a visit by a bigwig for which the base was smartened up – including painting some of the stonework with a paint that was designed for the base’s cinema screen. The effect was, shall we say, interesting.

After three and a half years in the RAF, Brian left to join Turner and Newall as a management trainee. His departure from the RAF was delayed for about six months by the Suez crisis of 1956. His original plan had been to join Proctor and Gamble, but one seemed to need a PhD in chemistry to make progress in that company, so Turner and Newall it was. At the time, Turner and Newall was the largest manufacturer and supplier of asbestos products in the UK and was, for a while, in the FTSE 100. Brian’s primary interest, one he retained for most of his career, was in the manufacturing end of the business and, after two years in management training, he found himself in at the deep end running a couple of small plants manufacturing slates and materials for reinforcing concrete.

His natural aptitude for management meant that he steadily rose up the corporate ladder until, in 1962, Turner and Newall offered him a choice: to become general manager of their operations in Nigeria or to move to a new joint venture with Irish Cement in Ireland. He chose the latter and found himself in 1960s Drogheda heading up a manufacturing operation called Asbestos Cement Pipes that made pipes, sheeting and slates (some older members may remember this plant). His job title at the time was a bit of a moveable feast. He was, in effect, heading up both sales and manufacturing and was, to all intents and purposes, the general manager though he never held that title. Brian was to stay with this operation for 20 years during which new plant was in Ballyclare in Northern Ireland which came under Brian’s management towards the end of this period. He was also responsible for a plant in Athy.

Brian had first encountered Rotary before he left the UK in a town called Erith in Kent where he had attended some of their lunches. However, it was to be 1964 before he joined Rotary - initially as a member of the Drogheda club. Unfortunately, although he continued to live in Drogheda until 1994, his office was now in Dublin so attending the Drogheda club was impractical which is how he ended up in our club. The Directory lists him as joining in 1964, but it was, in fact, the following year, 1965, when he officially became a member of the Dublin club.

In 1970, in a complex business manoeuvre, Roadstone Holdings did a reverse takeover of Irish Cement and became CRH. CRH has become a global colossus over the intervening 50 years, but in those days Brian would have known all of the top management including Liam O’Mahony who laid the foundations for the company’s future success. Until about 1990, all of the top brass in CRH were Irish; today Brian says that he would only recognise one or two names in the annual report.

In 1976, a new company was set up to manufacture profile metal sheeting in Athy. This company was called Tegral Metal Forming, Tegral being the name given to the entire operation at this point. CRH sold Tegral to a Belgian company called Eternit in 1988. Brian was part of Tegral from the get-go and held various roles including being responsible for manufacturing and, at one point, human resources. His official title was Technical Director though for a period he was effectively acting as the Managing Director. He formally retired in from Tegral in 1993, but continued work in a consultancy role. He also continued to represent the asbestos industry, a role that involved him in several EU committees including as Chairman of the Asbestos Industry Association. For many years post retirement he was engaged by the Belgian Company Etex, now the parent company of Tegral, as an environmental auditor. He continued to work as a consultant until 2004.

Brian had moved from Drogheda south to Straffan, county Kildare in 1974 before, in 1994, moving back north to Slane where he still lives. Brian and his first wife Jackie, divorced in 2000 and in 2008 (as some of us remember) he married Diana who he had first met in Ireland in 1963. Between them they have 13 grandchildren. Brian has four children including a son, Neil, who lives in Dublin and is well known in the worlds of hockey and cricket and who has represented Ireland at cricket at various levels. He has three daughters. One lives in South Africa, one (who is a semi-retired nurse) lives in Australia (and who, at the time of writing, is trying to get back home to Melbourne!) and his third daughter lives in Celbridge (as does his ex-wife Jackie). Jackie was also involved in Rotary, being the first ever honorary secretary of Inner Wheel in Ireland.

Brian himself served as Honorary Secretary of our own club from 2002 to 2007 and thereafter as Assistant Honorary Secretary for several years becoming Secretary for a second stint in 2011-2013. Brian is the longest serving member of our club.

John D. Carroll
In the year that John D. Carroll was District Governor, 1983, the District conference was held in Kenmare. At the time, Ireland was struggling with an economic recession. Addressing the conference, John D. offered the following words of wisdom and encouragement:

We spend a lot of time assuring ourselves, telling ourselves what a great organisation we are, but we should remind ourselves seriously, at this time, that our model is “service above self”. The Rotary man is no ordinary man because his opportunities are extraordinary. Each of us has many talents, some of us use them, and some of us don't. We have got to give, and if you withhold you are cheating because we have all got these gifts . So, when you go home, please bring some of the enthusiasm from this conference with you and apply in your everyday life some of the messages that we are trying to communicate to you.

From First in Service, The Story of the Rotary Club Dublin, by Tony Keegan. Reprinted with Tony’s kind permission.

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