The Rotary Club, Dublin

Founded 22nd February 1911

The Dubliner

All the news that's fit to print

President: Mariandy Lennon

Hon. Sec.: Tony Keegan

Telephone 087 244 2818 

Volume 26 Issue 25 

10 February 2020


Alan Harrison

Frank Bannister

David Booth

Delma Sweeney

Dermot Knight

Today our speaker is Pierce Dargan, Co-Founder of Secret Street Tours.


President Mariandy Lennon chaired our meeting last Monday.


The invocation was given by Tony McCourt who spoke of Spring, of Raifteirí an File and of the Corona virus. Tony asked us to pray for those affected by the virus and reminded us that China is only a 16-hour flight away.


Forthcoming Speakers and Events 

Feb 17th        Rotary Trust Fund - charitable donations motions by Trustees

Feb 24th        Aoife Coffey Saint Vincent’s Hospital - transplants

Feb 22nd       President’s Dinner, Fitzwilliam LTC


Rotary Rangers February Walks

Feb  4th         Maulin Mountain, Enniskerry.

Feb 11th        Paddock Hill, Wicklow Way, from Trooperstown Hill car park.

Feb 18th        Hellfire Club & Massey Woods, Rathfarnham.

Feb 25th        Fananerrin Ridge, Glenmalure Valley.


Visitors and Apologies

Hon. Secretary Tony presented apologies from PP Tony Gannon, Brian Taylor, Sonia Crepaldi, Veronica Kunovska, PP Ken Hunt, Dorothy Hannon, PP Michael Carroll, Gerry McLarnon, Simone Nelson, PP Derek Griffith, Caroline Barnardo and Alan Harrison.


Apologies: Special Appeal.

Every week there is a large number of people not at the lunch, but who have not sent in apologies. If you are going to be absent, please let Hon. Secretary Tony know by ‘phone or e-mail so that at least we know that you are OK.

President Mariandy and the club welcomed two Rotarian visitors, our speaker, Sean Fitzpatrick of the Omagh club and Ross McCrea from the Bridge of Allen and Dunblane club in Scotland who, it seems, was not in Ireland for the match, but for a short break.

Secretary’s Announcements

Hon. Secretary Tony told us that there would be an R&R Thank you for the Music event in the NCH running from April 16th to 18th. The R&R will also be presenting My Fair Lady in November. Details nearer the time.


Members’ Announcements

Tony McCourt Reported on the recent District Council meeting. The meeting remembered two PDGs who had recently died, Ambrose Elliot and Gussie Hynes. The 2019 annual conference had had a surplus of £6,207. President Jason of the Kilkenny RC had talked about the Bikes for Africa scheme and DG William had said that there was a proposed Group Friendship Exchange with New Zealand next year. Anybody interested in providing a bed or two should contact DG William. There had been discussion of PE Training Seminar and DGE Sean advised those present that Rotaract clubs should not be left to develop in isolation as Rotaract members can now be members of Rotary.


President’s Announcements

President Mariandy said that she had been in London last week for a “Reveal Party”. A number of members were less than certain that they knew what a reveal party was and apparently it is a party where expectant mums find out the gender of their baby by cutting a special cake. If the interior is pink it is a girl, if blue, it is a boy. This information is given by the medical staff to the baker of said cake who puts the name over the appropriate colour. In Mariandy’s case it was her daughter’s child and it turns out that it’s a boy! The joy of this occasion had been dampened by news of the death of her sister-in-law Mary (sister of Michael, Mariandy’s husband). Mary was a nun in the St. John of God order, a nursing order, and during her time delivered around 3,000 babies.


Members Wishing to Speak

PE Alan had several announcements:

  • First he apologised on behalf of John Webster of the Scottish Office in Dublin who was to have been our speaker. Both John and the UK ambassador had been recalled to their respective head offices (presumably for Brexit related reasons). John will hopefully be able to speak to us later in the year.

  • On Wednesday night there will be a social evening in the Merrion Inn from 6.00 onwards. Alan himself will not be there, alas, but it should still be fun even without him!  Come as early as you can.

  • Alan reminded us about the President’s night dinner on the 22nd in Fitzwilliam LTC. The charge for guests is £60. Members have already paid through their subscription. President Mariandy added that our guest speaker that evening would be the German ambassador, Dieke Potzel.

  • There will be a membership day on the 23rd of March. Please try to come and bring a friend (or two) who you think might be interested in joining Rotary.

  • Our twin club in Tours is planning to come to Dublin from September 25th to 28th. The dates were in part determined by the availability of flights (direct flights to Tours are only available at certain times of year). It was pointed out that these dates overlap with the Annual Conference. Alan said that he will get back to them to agree a different time.

  • There will be a novel fundraiser on the 23rd of May in Elm Park golf club in the form of a Masquerade Ball (not, as your aurally challenged duty editor first thought he heard – a master eight ball).

David Booth said that he had recently visited the Bonn Rotary club and they are interested in a trip to Dublin. Mariandy added that she had met the former German ambassador to the Philippines who had expressed an interest in coming to the President’s night as he will be in Ireland at the time.


Last Week’s Speaker

Our speaker last week was Sean Fitzgerald, District Membership Chair.


Sean apologised for taking so long to make it to the first club formed outside of North America. 110 or so years ago, Rotary started with just 20 members in Dublin. Today there are 1,700 country wide. What they started; we need to continue. All Rotary clubs share a number of common goals including expanding Rotary, promoting Rotary ideals and keeping clubs in contact. He could talk about Rotary’s 1.2 million member world-wide, but today he wanted to focus on local matters and the here and now.


When thinking about membership, a good question to ask oneself is “Why did I join Rotary?”  Then, Sean asked, what is the worst thing that somebody can say to you if you invite them to join Rotary?  The answer is “Yes” because then you have to ask yourself “Now what?”. You have to take responsibility for making sure that the new member is integrated into your club, feels welcome and is happy with their Rotary experience. If you do not ask, the answer is always “No”. When approaching potential new members about Rotary, there are many things to talk about, both in terms of what your own club does and in terms of the larger Rotary family. We get clean water to people who need it. We support schools in Africa. We fight polio. We help communities. And so on. And as you talk to people you should be asking yourself is my club attractive? Rotary can provide a way for those many people who want to put something back, but are not certain how best to do that, to make a contribution. Rotary helps people. It is non-political; it is non-sectarian; it is open to all who subscribe to its ideals. For many people, it ticks all of the boxes. Clubs have a wide range of things that they can do to help others. Declan Tyner had once said to him that it was like looking at a menu with 100 items from which to choose, picking two or three and doing them really well.


Sean told a story about two young lads who kicked their football over the fence into the adjacent garden where their neighbours were having a bar-b-cue. They sheepishly rang the front doorbell and asked could they collect their ball. They were invited to come in, sit down and have something to eat. Several hours later when they left with their ball in hand, the neighbour said to them “See you same time next week.”  This is the type of welcoming and open atmosphere people should find in a Rotary club.


Sean said that one concern often expressed about Rotary is its age profile, but, he said, older people were the mainstay of Rotary and the backbone of most clubs. These are people who know the ropes and often have more time than younger members who can be busy building their careers and raising young families. Younger members tend to have more energy it is true, however a key group for many clubs is the recently retired. These are people with the skills, the connections, the commitment and the time. We should actively seek out such people as new members rather than worry that they don’t solve our perceived  age profile problem.


Sean moved on to Rotaract. Rotary had been tinkering with Rotaract for many years. Rotaract had traditionally been for thirty-somethings who might be turned off by the older people in a typical Rotary club. It has now been decided that Rotaractors can be full Rotarians and that Rotaract should be an integral part of Rotary rather than an offshoot. There were two models for Rotaract clubs – university-based clubs and community-based clubs. District would be running a couple of seminars in the coming months for Rotarians and Rotoractors to discuss how such clubs can work and can be sustained. It is important that no Rotaract club be left in isolation. At the moment there are several Rotaract clubs in operation and there are others in the pipeline.


Responding from the floor, Rana said that our club had a Rotaract club which started with six members. She will e-mail the members about the seminars. Sean said that he would forward her information. These have all be paid for and printed. There is also information on the RIBI and RI websites.


Concluding, Sean had one last question that we should ask ourselves – where would we be today if we had never joined Rotary?  Sean works for Stena line and spends about half of his time at sea which makes it difficult to make new friends and engage in his community. He was born in Naas, lived for a while in Clare and how lives in Omagh. Through Rotary, he has made many new friends and was able to adapt to his new town much more rapidly than he would have had he never joined the club. He recalled Gussie Hynes talking, 25 years ago, about the four-way test and reflected on how fellowship is ever more important in an age of ‘me, me, me’. Rotary is about connection and inclusion – two valuable values in today’s world.


There was no time for questions, but president Mariandy thanked Sean for an inspiring talk and said that we currently have 56 members which hopefully will be 57 next month. We would like to get to 60 by the end of this year.

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