September 14th 2020
Today’s speaker is Michael Heney on the Arms Trial of 1970. (Michael has recently published a book on this trial).
Forthcoming Speakers and Events
Sept 21st “Ask Rotary” initiative – Community & Vocation Committee
Sept 28th Representative of the Scottish Government in Dublin.
Oct 19th Speaker from the United Nations (details to follow).
Oct 12th Barbara Walsh, Chair of the Board of the Glencree Reconciliation Centre.
Paul Martin gave the Thought of the Day last week.
Rotary Rangers Walks
Sept 15th. Clara Vale, via Lara
Sept 22nd Bray to Greystones
Sept 29th Lough Ouler, Military Road
Social distancing rules will apply. More details are available from PP Brian George.
Hon Sec Tony McCourt gave apologies for non-attendance Alexander Kopf; Patrick White; Jonathan Pim; Rana Al Damin; Randal Gray; Ethna Fitzgerald; Tom O'Neill and Gerry McLarnon.
At last week’s virtual meeting there were 22 attendees. Our visitors were Anthony Conn; Yogi Reppmann; Colum Kenny; Lori Conn; Gabe Hau (Rotary E Club of Melbourne); Grace Van Zyl (President of Rotary Club Johannesburg); Deirdre Wildly (Rotary Club of Belfast); Bill Tubbs (Past District Governor of District 6000 (Iowa, US)); Jim Hart and Eamonn Allen.
President Alan congratulated Delma and David for their work on the successful Duck Race and thanked the donor that kindly agreed to match all contributions. He also thanked Paul Martin and Roger Owens for their work in developing Rotary masks.
Members wishing to speak
Mary O’Rafferty made special mention of Delma’s efforts on the Duck race and the club expressed their thanks.
Ted Corcoran expressed the concern that Northside ducks don’t seem to win the Duck race and wondered whether there was some kind of conspiracy! Although President Alan noted one of his ducks had won in previous years.
Last Week’s Speakers
Our speakers were Anthony Conn and Yogi Reppmann of the Peace Pipe Proposal. They were introduced by Roger Owens who had met them at the Rotary Conveinoit in Hamburg a few years ago. He noted they exemplify the Rotary spirit of getting things done – and as their topic demonstrates – Rotarians can be considered the “canaries” of the changing world and should be among the first to act.
Yogi and Tony spoke about their extra ordinary work with the Peace Pipe letters, including a letter from our own club in 1932. They had taken the trouble to invite Professor Colum Kenny to our meeting – the grandson the former President of our club who authored the letter in 1932.
They have included a summary of the Peace Pule Proposal for publication in the Dubliner which is included later in this edition.
Professor Kenny provided some further information on his Grandfather. He had been part of Irish trade delegations to the US – but owing to trade restrictions at the time – they were only allowed to exhibit and sell goods on the ship itself. He noted the site of his Grandfather’s original office was on Abbey St and the number 65 can still be made out just opposite Easons. It had sustained damage in the 1916 uprising.
Deirdre Wildly noted how timeless the letters and their contextual circumstances are. Almost 100 years have passed by there are comparable lessons we can learn in today’s world.
Delma Sweeney thanked Yogi and Tony for their talk and their work. She was fascinated by their story and felt it spoke to the heart of what it means to be a Rotarian: making connections with other people and peace-making.
PEACE PIPE PROPOSAL, 1931 & 2020
Today, the world situation is alarmingly similar as nationalism and ideologies that violate human rights are on the rise again. 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 prepared to give powerpoint presentations via Zoom on various related topics free of charge. (One question is – what can a one person project like 1931 teach us today. / What can we do as individuals for world peace?!)
In December 1931, a time when many were concerned about rising nationalism in Germany and many parts of the world and the danger of war, Jewett Fulton of the Rotary Club of Keokuk, Iowa (on the Mississippi) sent 504 letters to Rotary Clubs in sixty-five countries outside the United States, encouraging members to smoke a symbolic and communal peace pipe, a ritual practiced by Indian tribes as a way of dealing with conflict. While this initiative was ultimately unsuccessful in preventing what became a devastating world war, it demonstrated nonetheless the willingness and courage of an individual and of groups of people to stand up for the ideals they believed in.
Fred Rogers of the Rotary Club of Northfield is supporting Tony and Yogi. Fred serves as a board member of ANERA (www.anera.org), which is engaged in humanitarian projects in Gaza and the West Bank. This group has no political or religious affiliation and works on the ground with many partners.
Quote by Rtn. Bill Tubbs from his amazing intro to our PP Letter Publication:
Our Goal: (Bill from Iowa attended our presentation.)
The question that confronts us today is the same as in 1931-32: Do our leaders have the capacity to reach beyond their grasp, to challenge us to seek the higher angels of nature, to choose "Be informed! Be informed!" rather than "Be afraid! Be afraid!" In the end, however, we know that world peace is too important to be left in the hands of our leaders. Peace starts in our own back yards when we speak our for understanding when their is disharmony, food security where there is hunger, health care where there is disease, education where there is illiteracy, conservation where there is environmental harm, sustainable development where there is poverty ... and when we write letters across border to build goodwill and better friendships. - William Tubbs (2019)
Getting to know you: Paul Loughlin
Paul was born in March 1945; a little over a month later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in Berlin. As far as he knows, the two events are not connected.
Paul had an unusual childhood in that his father and his father’s brother married two sisters. His uncle Cel and his aunt Mary had no children of their own, so young Paul and his sister Joan were shared between the two families. One result of this was that he spent much of his childhood and adolescence in rural Surrey and small-town Hertfordshire. To this day he keeps his travel pass from the Free State to Britain.
Paul went to school at Belvedere College. After completing his Leaving Certificate a casual conversation with a friend whose father happened to be Master of the Holles Street hospital at the time, led to the idea of a medical career. In retrospect, perhaps he should have known he was not cut out for a medical career when the lady at the registration desk remarked, a trifle frostily: “Mr Loughlin, if you are going to do medicine I suggest you should learn to spell ‘medicine”. Following the Pre-Med examinations he was working at a summer job in Limburg, Germany, when he received a kindly letter from his father enclosing a letter from Ollscoil na hEireann: “Dear Mr Loughlin, we regret to inform you that you have failed the following subjects: ‘all subjects’”. He still has the letter.
Paul next considered a career in the British military. Luckily for him, his uncle talked him out of it and so he re-applied to UCD, notionally to study English and history, but in reality to blaze a stellar trail though Dramsoc, UCD’s famed dramatic society. He went on complete an H.Dip. in Education in Trinity and started an M.Litt. there. It was while working on the latter that Paul came across the Rotary Foundation international education awards. He applied and was interviewed by then future president Joe Hamilton. He did not make the cut, but reapplied the following year and this time was successful.
It was 1970 and the situation in the North of Ireland was deteriorating rapidly. Joe had emphasised that, when Paul was representing Ireland abroad as a Rotary Scholar, he was representing Rotary Clubs throughout the island of Ireland. So he sent Paul on a series of speaking visits to clubs North and South. He was to learn hard and fast about how to speak to different clubs from a whole island perspective and, while in the North, to emphasise how Rotarians came from all sides of the community and never failed to cement relationships when they could.
Paul took up his Rotary fellowship at Emerson College in Boston studying for an MA in Mass Communications. During his year there, he spoke at 17 Rotary clubs from Boston to Rhode Island and faced many challenging questions about what was happening in Ireland. Bloody Sunday, in January 1972, stirred up particularly strong feelings.
Emerson College’s boast was that nobody ever left Emerson without a job. In Paul’s case they were right; he received a job offer from CFCF TV 12’s newsroom in Montreal well before finishing his degree. Quebec at that time was another divided community - Anglo and Quèbecois. Then, eight years later, in 1980, RTÉ embarked on an ambitious plan to enhance its current affairs TV output to respond to the Northern conflict, the economic problems of the Republic and its frequent political furores. Invited by RTÉ, within weeks he was back in Northern Ireland covering the hunger strikes as well as the wider conflict for Today Tonight. Covering the North in those times was hard going – both stressful and distressing.
The next thirty years at RTÉ had its high and low points in Current Affairs with brief, but hugely enjoyable sojourns in Young People’s Programmes. Other memorable, if difficult, assignments included four tours of duty in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza during the Second Intifada and its suicide bombings.
The high point was the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement in 1998. A poll commissioned by RTÉ News and Current Affairs at the time showed that a majority of Protestants in the North had supported the Agreement and, to the great happiness of Paul and his RTÉ colleagues, they were first with the story.
For Paul, retirement beckoned as the world moved into the twenty-first century. For many years he had nursed a regret at not having finished either the MA at Emerson or the M.Litt. at Trinity. He had 30 of the 36 credits required by Emerson and the remaining six were to be given on production of a dissertation. Thoughts of a return to Emerson were dashed when a member of the staff there informed him that Emerson no longer offered a master's degree in Mass Comms.
But life is always full of possibilities. A friend who played football with Eunan O'Halpin, Professor of Contemporary Irish History at TCD, introduced Paul to Eunan, a meeting that resulted in Paul signing up for an MPhil in Trinity course in which he gained a first. Why stop there? With encouragement from Eunan, Paul embarked on a PhD, researching the bitter disputes over social policy between conservatives and liberals in Ireland from 1980 to 1995. Paul was not the first person to find that PhDs have a tendency to “grow like Topsy” as he puts it, and the scope of his researches eventually extended to 2018. He submitted in 2019 and is now Dr Loughlin. He is currently working on converting his dissertation into a book and on the hunt for a suitably succinct title. Suggestions on a postcard please…
Power of the airwaves
Last week’s featuring of the District project “Bikes 4 Africa” on the RTE 6pm news brought a spike of traffic to our website – in the days since we have seen a significant rise in both people visiting the website and using it to send messages to the Club.