November 9th 2020
Our speaker today is Stan Mason who will speak about his 200 year old family business
Forthcoming Speakers and Events
Nov 16th Prisoner Liaison Project. Barry Owens of IASIO.
Nov 23rd Gabe Hau, Rotary Club of Melbourne, “Creating a Peacebuilding Club.”
Nov 30th St. Andrew’s Day: President Alan Davidson will speak on one of his favourite subjects. Dec 7th Combined Annual/Special General Meeting.
Dec 14th The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu.
Rotary Rangers Walks
Due to the above new restrictions on movements of our population, PP Brian sends the message that regretfully it is not possible for our Rotary Ranger's weekly walks to continue. There is nothing to stop individuals walking within 5 KMs of our homes, but not
as a group.
There were 19 member attendees on 2nd November and one visitor: Lucia Okonkwo, who will be studying at Griffith College until July.
Hon Sec Tony McCourt gave apologies from Rana Al Damin, Alan Harrison and David Horkan.
Thought for the Day
Bernadette Mulvey gave the thought for the day. She stressed the importance of family ties during the current lockdown and said family harmony could also benefit from following the 4-way Rotary Test.
President Alan regretted to announce that our speaker, ex-member John Murphy, had had to call off as he had been warned of possible power outages and had actually been cut off since 8.00 a.m. Fortunately we are blessed with members who can rise to their feet at a moment’s notice so he would be calling on the old reliables, Tom O’Neill and Ted Corcoran. There would be a Council meeting later in the day.
Member’s Wishing to Speak
Mariandy acknowledged all those who had made the last meeting so colourful by wearing wigs, Mexican hats and national dress in celebration of the UN’s Nation’s Day. News about our new member Hecham – He just got back from Paris last week only to get the shocking news that his mother had died and was on the next plane back. Our condolences. She had called Willy Widmer and had spoken to his daughter. He’s ‘fine’ she reported and looking forward to his birthday on 14th November. Alan thanked her for reaching out to one of our longest serving members.
Our first speaker was Tom O’Neill who said he would like to tell us about some of his most memorable Rotary experiences; his time with Rotary in Monaghan, the World Conference in Birmingham and the District Conference in Belfast the same year, back in the mists of time (1984).
Rotary for Tom had been a great door-opener. He first joined Rotary in Dublin but when he moved to Monaghan in 1977 he transferred to Monaghan Rotary. Tom had been head hunted by Feo Teoranta to see if he could rescue a company making pressure vessels called Product Containers which had debts of over a million pounds but a brilliant product, 100% for export. To the surprise of many he managed to turn the company around. He quickly got involved in the fund-raising efforts of the Club. They were trying to raise 20,000 pounds to buy much needed equipment for the local hospital but, working with local G.A.A. clubs, they succeeded in raising over 70,000 pounds and were able to buy an ambulance as well as a great deal of equipment.
The World Conference in 1984 was held in the rather gloomy (then) city of Birmingham, nothing like the vibrant place it is today. Of Irish Rotary’s 2000 members only 200 went to the conference and Tom felt this was a missed opportunity for so many. Admittedly much of the conference was spent hammering out the nitty gritty of rules and regulations but there were some memorable and very entertaining speakers and fascinating side events. On Saturday night the main participants – the English, the Scots and the Irish put on a big show and the Irish musicians and dancers gave a kind of precursor of Riverdance and brought the house down. Accommodation was limited in those days and they had to stay in a curious hotel in Leicester about half an hour away. Rooms didn’t have numbers, they had names of French girls! So there was great amusement running up and down corridors looking for ‘Lolita’ or ‘Brigitte’ or whatever. The lift was so small that it could only take 3-4 people at a time, or only one of the truly enormous American women delegates. Tom was impressed with the size of some of the Paul Harris medallions sported by some American delegates – ‘as big as dinner plates’ – but he was saddened to hear that instead of being awarded these for services to Rotary they were being sold in America for $1000 a pop! If the next World Conference takes place in Munich next year he would strongly advise us to go. It would be a memorable event.
The District Conference later that year was held in Belfast and though the Troubles were still raging there was a great turnout, especially from Rotarians who were nervous about staying in Belfast overnight and drove un for the day from miles around. Tom and Maura stayed at the Europa which was already famous as the most bombed hotel in Europe. Security was tight and bomb scares were common and taken seriously. The reception at Belfast City Hall was cancelled at the last minute due to a bomb scare but the Saturday dinner went off without incident in Queens University. The band that played that night were from the Enniskillen Fusiliers and everyone said they had never heard better. Belfast had been shunned for many of the previous years because of the security situation and the organisers were relieved and delighted that so many Rotarians from the South made it to their conference.
Monaghan Rotary’s natural backdrop was the North rather than the South and they frequently used to visit clubs in Omagh, Portadown and Newry. Kevin McAnallan was in the Dundalk club and Tom and he became close friends in those days.
Driving around the North sometimes took a lot of courage and a high level of alcohol consumption was par for the course. On one memorable occasion four Rotarians from Monaghan went to a lunch at Enniskillen Rotary. Included in their party was the chief superintendent for border security and he ended up being seated beside a local district inspector. The longer they chatted, the more drink was consumed until everyone was over the limit and night was closing in. The question arose as how best to get home or would they have to spend the night in Enniskillen. Phone calls were made and to Tom’s great surprise a police escort was arranged to bring them back to the border where respective wives collected them and took over the driving. Those were the days!
Our second speaker was Ted Corcoran who spoke to us about TOASTMASTERS and some of his experiences in that organisation. He had been amused to hear that our speaker was unavailable due to a power cut because that reminded him very much of another time when he was called upon to make a speech in an emergency. Tom said he realised there was going to be a Council Meeting at 5.30 p.m. later in the day so he promised us he would finish before that. He quoted Bernard Shaw – ‘The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’ A speech can be hot air or it can be memorable. It is about communicating something noteworthy to those listening in such a way that they remember it and act on it.
Probably everyone here has heard of Toastmasters, especially since it has recently agreed to work together with Rotary. It was founded in the U.S.A. in 1924 and now has 400,000 members worldwide. The first club in Ireland started in Dublin in 1958 and now there are 130 Toastmasters clubs around Ireland (which is actually double the number of Rotary clubs.) People join Rotary and stay for many years. People join Toastmasters, learn the skills they need for their work and then leave so they have a much greater turnover.
Ted was elected World President of Toastmasters in Miami in the year 2000. This was after a huge amount of planning and canvassing and having a superb team. He was proud to have been the only President they have ever had in 96 years who was not an American. Being President meant travelling to many parts of the world. When you compare the Indians, the Malaysians, Europeans and Americans you realise that people everywhere are basically very friendly.
On the day that he became International President in Reno, Nevada, he recalls waiting to hear the Irish National Anthem being played and making his short acceptance speech. Someone whispered in his ear that they had a crisis. The keynote speaker Richard Green from Los Angeles had been delayed and they did not have a plan B. Would Ted be able to step into his shoes? Remembering from schooldays that you never say ‘The dog ate my dinner’ but you just do your best, even if it’s on the spur of the moment. He agreed to do it but facing World Toastmasters without time to prepare was the biggest challenge he had faced in his life. Fortunately the keynote speaker did arrive, 15 minutes late, and Ted was able to pass the baton.
You meet some extraordinary people in Toastmasters. Ted was once at a conference in Miami when he was seated at dinner with an elderly gentleman with the name Charlie Keane. ‘That’s an Irish name, isn’t it?’ Ted commented and a fascinating conversation ensued about roots and emigration. The man turned out to be district governor for Toastmasters of his State and was 98 years of age! Ted asked him if he had a motto to keep him going and indeed he had. It was ‘I’m not done yet.’ And he wasn’t done. He kept going till he was 103 and has always been an inspiration to Ted.
There is now a new alliance between Toastmasters and Rotary. If Toastmasters knew more about Rotary they might join us; similarly if we knew more about Toastmasters we might join them. Did we know that Tom O’Neill was a Toastmaster in 1958? It’s all about communication. The ability to share ideas effectively, and by effectively, he means how much did people understand and remember of a speech.
Toastmasters teaches communication and leadership and would make a wonderful experience for any of our children who could benefit from being better communicators and leaders. Toastmasters has a way you can work your way up, bit by bit, taking on bigger and bigger speaking roles until you have the confidence to hold the attention of a room full of people.
President Alan claimed to have heard little so far about the link between Toastmasters and Rotary. Bernadette Mulvey, who is currently President of Fingal Toastmasters (who meet in The Marine Hotel in Sutton when they can) said the link with Rotary is a work in progress. It’s a two way street. Rotary needs to actively engage as well. But in the future, it is hoped that Rotarians and Toastmasters will go to each other’s meetings and may become a new source of members for each other. Now the meetings are on-line our members can attend Toastmasters meetings, for instance in Sutton, Malahide or Swords without leaving their homes. Bernadette feels that the two organisations have a lot in common, there is a colourful variety of people in both, but Rotarians would really benefit from speaking skills and in practising how to run meetings.
Paul Martin reminisced about his pre-Rotary days when he was a member of the junior version of Rotary known as the Round Table, which accepted members up to the age of 40 (and later 45). He toured Round Tables around the world when the ebullient Gerry Herlihy was World Round Table President. Then in about 1990 he joined Rotary in one of the big recruitment drives of the time when 15 new members joined the same year. Rotarians were not as good at visiting other clubs for weekend visits but he remembers when our club got a letter inviting members for a weekend get together in Manchester for their 90th Anniversary. Dublin, Belfast, Manchester and London had all been founded the same year so why not party together? Only 10 Rotarians set off from Dublin Airport. Paul introduced himself and Mary to another couple who turned out to be Kevin and Margaret McAnallen. The start of a great friendship.
On the subject of after dinner speaking, Frank Bannister couldn’t resist the story he heard from his friend David O’Sullivan of the European Commission, that some group had invited Henry Kissinger to come and speak at a special fund-raising dinner. They had agreed his fee of $10,000 and so they were surprised that after the dinner he did not get up to speak. His agent pointed out that the money was for his attendance at the dinner. If they wanted him to speak it would be another $10,000. (Isn’t that what they call sucking diesel? Ed)
Decisions of the November 2020 Council Meeting
1. To approve the Minutes of the October 2020 Council Meeting.
2. To note the apology, dated 6 Oct 2020, from General Secretary of RIBI.
3. To take no further action on the San Jose State University contact at this time.
4. To note that President Alan will contact the Paris Nord scholarship student in UCD.
5. To take no action on contact from Rob Edwards re ‘Climate and Peace’.
6. To direct Hon Sec to write to a named member and thank him for his service.
7. To further consider a named member’s membership intentions.
8. To further consider a review of membership conditions in Covid-19 times.
9. To hold a combined Annual/Special General Meeting on 7 Dec 2020, to:
a. Receive Reports from Council and Committees for y/e 30 Jun 2020
b. Receive and approve Annual Accounts for y/e 30 Jun 2020
c. Note: Council’s decisions for 2020/21 re; entrance fee and subscription, the election of Honorary Members, the election of six ordinary members of Council, the appointment of Chairs of Committees, the appointment of a person to examine the Annual Accounts.
d. Elect 3 Delegates and their substitutes to District Council and RIBI Conference.
e. Elect officers as follows:
i. For 2022/23: Club President
ii. For 2021/22: President Elect; Vice-President; Hon Sec; Hon Treas; Asst Hon Sec; Asst Hon Treas.
10. On the proposal of PP Tony Keegan seconded by PP Ted Corcoran to approve the Annual Accounts for the y/e 30 Jun 2020 as presented.
11. To note the Trust Fund Accounts for y/e 30 Jun 2020 are not yet ready.
12. To note the Community Report. Congratulations to Rossella on the success of the ‘Trike for Daisy’ project. Prisoner outreach speaker on 16 Nov. With great regret The Remembrance Tree project will not proceed this year.
13. To note cheque for €500 has been issued to District Lebanon Aid Appeal.
14. To note PP Paul’s assurance that Santa has contacted Children’s Hospital.
15. To note PP Paul’s substantial support for the Rostrevor Christmas.
16. To further consider a revised virtual format for meetings in the New Year.
To schedule next Council Meeting for 5.30 pm Monday 3