Breaking News December 2020

Row Person of the Year 2021 Announced

Following a Zoom Committee Meeting on December 17th, PPU President Jerry Carroll, announced the election of John Cullen (class of 1964) as Row Person of the Year for 2021. Jerry said that he could not think of a more deserving recipient of this prestigious award and he looked forward to presenting the PV Doyle trophy to John at a suitable date in 2021 when, hopefully, the “new normality” will come into effect. Further details of John Cullen’s career and outstanding work on behalf of the PPU are set out below.

President’s Message

As well as announcing the award, Jerry wished all past pupils and their families every blessing and good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. reflecting on 2020, Jerry said that this has been a unique year for us all with the impact of Covid19 being felt right across the World. Some have suffered greatly and we should remember, in our thoughts and prayers, all those who have lost, as a result of the pandemic or other illness, a family member, a close relative or friend, or those who have been affected in any way by illness. Cuirmear i gcuimhne iad go leir

The PPU in 2020

Our activities were greatly curtailed during the year. The committee did meet on five occasions thanks to John Costello making the DCU Zoom facility available to us. Decisions, generally, had to be negative, for instance, we had to cancel the annual dinner which was planned for late January 2021. We did achieve some positive things. We gave a bursary of €2,000 to two deserving students to help with their third level education and we elected a ROW Person of the Year for 2021 to keep that great tradition alive.

We kept in touch with school Principal, Kate Byrne and were delighted to learn that the Leaving Cert pupils did very well and many went on to third level. The school kept going well since reopening in September despite the difficulties posed by the virus.

Row Person of the Year 2020 -John Cullen

John, in his year as President of the PPU, in good company with Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
and Bro. Edmund Garvey, European Provincial of the Irish Christian Brothers.

John was a member of the centenary class of 1964. After school he joined the civil service and continued his studies in the evenings, graduating , from UCD with a Diploma in Public Administration and a B Comm. His civil service career was in the Dept of the Environment and Local Government. John rose to a senior position and headed up a number of important and high profile developments. He joined the Institute of Public Administration for the final seven years of his career and retired in 2009.

John didn’t rest on his laurels when he retired and he joined the board of Oaklee Housing – a voluntary housing association – for a ten year spell and was its chair for five years. He also served as a board director of Choice Housing, the largest housing association on the island, based in the North, for nine years.

John played football and hurling at the ROW with some distinction. He hurled with Fontenoy Clanna Gael until he was “found out” (his own words!) at the age of 46. He was selected to play for Dublin on many occasions in his long career.

John served as President of the PPU in 2013/14 and 2014/15. During that time he spearheaded the 150 year projects and celebrations as well as the 1916 centenary commemorations. These were outstanding successes especially, the production of our 150 Year Book Cuimhneachan. John did an excellent job of editing the book as well as contributing many of the articles. There were many highlights to recall at that time, including the visit of our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to unveil a plaque to honour the school for its contribution to education over 150 years. John also spearheaded the Archive Project which set up a digital record of the school rolls stretching back to its foundation in 1864. This was a massive research project given the length of time involved and also the poor state of the records available. These important records of our historic alma mater are now available, on line, through the PPU website thanks to John and the committee he lead at the time.

John still continues to serve the PPU as Hon Sec and his communication and organisational skills are invaluable.

Let’s hope that it won’t be too long until the President will be in a position to present the PV Doyle Trophy to John at a suitable ceremony.

WhatsApp Groups

The use of WhatsApp on our mobile phones mushroomed in the early days of the Lockdown. Many families, sporting and other organisations set up WhatsApp Groups to provide a quick and convenient way to keep in touch and send photos etc. The PPU set up a Group called ROW News and a number of classes set up WhatsApp Groups to communicate with past pupils in their own classes. Each class is under the control of a Manager with responsibility to pass on to his class mates any news relating to past pupils which he receives from ROW News. Any member of a class group, not just the Manager, can send messages to his group. All group managers can also send messages to ROW News on my mobile number (0872557298 Jim Conway).

The scheme has been very successful and many interesting articles, news items and photos have been flying around. A lot of ROW history, anecdotes, photos etc. have been passed around. My own Group (1962) has been very active and provided great entertainment during lockdown/cocooning days. That Group is managed by Michael O’Sullivan and now has 12 members, including one overseas member, Marius Sykes, who lives in England. Any past pupil who would like to get on a Group should text his phone number to his “Year Manager” if he recognises him below. If your year is not here just text your number to me (Jim Conway 0872557298) and I’ll put you on a Group.

1973 Dan Ferrari 087 6238136

1976 John Costello 087 9802940

1971 Ed Hanlon 087 2551657

1964 John Cullen 087 2312728

1962 Michael O’Sullivan 086 2591790

1961 Emmet Wilson 087 2492954

1966 Brendan Malone 087 2649144

1967 Denis Kane 087 2546898

Deceased Past Pupils 2020

The PPU became aware of the deaths of six members during 2020. These were Chris Kane, Cyril Stirrat, Peter Dolan, Don Byrne, Charlie Glennon and Ray Duggan. All were prayed for during the Mass for St. Andrew’s day celebrated by the Archbishop on Sunday December 29th.

Chris Kane and Cyril Stirrat were very active on PPU committees over many years. Chris was ROW Person of the year in 1982. He had an outstanding career with Bord Failte and played a major role in bringing the Ryder Cup to Ireland in 2006. Chris was one of the greatest sportsmen to attend the ROW and it was a proud day for the school when Chris and Gerry Davey (class of 1962) featured on the Dublin team that won the all Ireland Football final in 1963.

Chris and Gerry with Sam 1963

Cyril Stirrat, who died aged 89 earlier this year, was also a great sportsman and played many sports with Railway Union. He was Treasurer of the PPU Golf Society for many years and helped to keep it going in lean times. May all our friends rest in peace.

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ROW Annual Dinner 2020

Over 70 past pupils and guests enjoyed a great evening at the Annual Dinner in the Westbury Hotel on Saturday January 25th. The PV Doyle trophy for Row Person of the Year was presented to Pat Neill by PPU President Jerry Carroll. In addition to representatives of Synge St. St. Josephs and O’Connells, five Leaving Cert Pupils, Casey Swaine, Kacper Jaroszynski, Safiya Gopee, Caitlin Tucker and Gabriel Batalla were guests of the PPU on the evening. They were interviewed by MC, Jim Conway. All showed a confidence and ability which is a great tribute to Principal, Kate Byrne and her staff at the ROW.
Our usual photographer, Patrick Dowling, was indisposed and unable to attend on the night but John Murray filled in and did a great job with his camera. Many thanks, John. Below are a small selection of John’s photos and we will put up some more later.

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Pat Neill Elected Row Person of the Year 2020

PPU President, Jerry Carroll, and committee are pleased to announce that Pat Neill has been elected Row Person of the Year 2020 and will be presented with the PV Doyle trophy at our Annual Dinner on Saturday January 25th. Tickets for the Dinner are still available from John Cullen 087 2312728.

Pat Neill wearing Dun Laoghaire Chamber Chain of Office

Pat completed his Leaving Cert in 1973 and joined an Garda Siochana in September 1974. He was appointed Detective in 1978 involved in the newly formed Anti-Terrorist Unit.

Pat reached the rank of Inspector and trained with most of the Anti-Terrorist Units in Europe and in New Jersey USA.

Between 1993 and 2000 Pat managed the Specialist Training School at Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park.

In 1994 Pat was Received the Toast Masters of the Year Award, Hellfire Toast Masters Club.

In 1994 also Pat the Garda National Award for developing a drugs awareness strategy programme for all Garda districts, in order to deliver a single message when lecturing to schools throughout the country.

In 1997 Pat developed and co-ordinated the first course for Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) on money laundering and asset seizing (Garda, Customer, Revenue)

In 1997 Pat completed his academic education with International Executive Master in Business Administration (IE.MBA) Smurfit’s Business School.

in 1998 Pat developed the Batchelor of Arts Degree Programme “BA Degree in Police Management” for Senior Garda Officers, in association with UL.

Pat acted as an advisor to the 2016 Dun Laoghaire County Council Development Plan on matters relating to County Transportation. he ensures that DLR Chamber is represented on the (SPC’s) advisory committees, Public and Social Housing Committees.

Pat represents Dundrum Town Centre retailers on two of IBEC’s advisory committees relating to Health and Safety in Retail and Transportation Committee.

Pat was invited on to the Board of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber of Commerce in 2008. From May 2016 to May 2018 Pat served as President of the DLR Chamber of Commerce. He remains a Director of CLR Chamber to this day.

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The 5 in a row is what Shay sings for

Row Past Pupil, Shay Connolly and pals, video 5 in a row is what we’re after is enjoying great success. Click on YouTube.  ROW boys Gerry Davey and Chris Kane were All Ireland winners with Dublin in 1963 so we have a lot to be proud of. UP THE DUBS.

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School Awards Day 23rd May 2019

The PPU was represented by Jim Conway at the Awards Ceremony in St. Mark’s on Thursday last. The PPU award of Pupil of the Year in the Leaving Class was shared by Beloy Nolasco and Robyn Delaney. This was a most unusual occurrence but the two pupils were neck and neck in all aspects and Principal, Kate Byrne, said that she could not separate them. The fairest course, therefore, was to give a joint award this year.
Pupil of the Year in the Applied Leaving Certificate was awarded to Mark Steele.
An enormous array of prizes for academic, artistic and sporting achievements were presented on a class by class basis and the enthusiasm with which they were received speaks volumes  for the dedication of all the teachers and organisers working in the school.

On behalf of the PPU, Jim Conway congratulated all the winners and wished all well in the upcoming exams.
Below are a few photos taken on the day. Unfortunately, the quality is not great due to the presence of a couple of red lights on the stage. Let’s hope that they convey some of the atmosphere and enthusiasm of the pupils.


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Westland Row PPU Golf Society 2019 Outings

Golf Society Secretary, Tony Kenny, recently annoiunced details of the 3 outings planned for 2019. New members and guests would be very welcome. Brief Details as follows:

  1. President’s (Des Donnelly) Prize – Woodbrook, Friday May 31st. Tee Time 1pm – 2.30pm.
  2. Captain’s (Alan O’Connor) Prize – Forest Little, Friday August 16th. Tee time 1pm – 2.30pm.
  3. AGM and “Bring a Bottle” Friday October 18th Foxrock, Friday October 18th. tee time 12.30pm – 1.40pm

Membership subscription for 2019 will be €15 and will be collected at outings.

To get on time sheets or seek further information contact one of the following –

Des Donnelly 086 2607881

Brian Donnelly 087 6183651

Tony Kenny 087 2623700

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The Memorial Wall

Five or six years ago Brother Tommy McDonnell cfc was inspired to undertake a project to create a Memorial Wall to remember and honour the many young men who joined the Irish Christian Brothers and left Ireland to work in far flung locations in Africa, South America and Asia. Many died and were buried abroad.
Brother Tommy headed up a group which researched the project and engaged in fund raising. Westland Row CBS PPU was pleased to support this project with a contribution when Brother Tommy called on us.
The Inauguration and Blessing of the Memorial Wall took place on Saturday May 4th. 2019 at the Blessed Edmund Rice Cemetery in Baldoyle, by His Grace Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. PPU Secretary, John Cullen and my self represented the PPU at this ceremony.

I attach below some detail and photographs which show the very impressive wall.

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Annual Dinner and AGM 2019

Below are some more photos taken by Patrick Dowling at the PPU Annual Dinner on January 26th.

Congratulations to Stephen Kenny who was presented with a Medal of Honour for his service to the PPU over many years. Unfortunately, Stephen could not attend the Dinner and his award was received by Jim Conway, from PPU President Jerry Carroll, on his behalf. 

AGM 2019

The AGM of the PPU took place on Thursday March 15th. Unfortunately,
the attendance was very small and there is an urgent need to get some new and younger blood into the PPU.

Kate Byrne, School Principal, attended the early part of the meeting and provided very positive information with regard to the management and future of the school. 

Kate’s main reason for attending was to thank the PPU for all the support it has given to the school over the years and, in particular, its contribution to fund the Homework Classes, which are now up and running. 

2018 was a good year for the school and the PPU. A sum of €15,000 was donated by Ken Doherty. This was used to carry out much needed renovations including replacing windows and a new main door. 

The school will obtain very welcome rental income over the next couple of years from the RIAM which needs space whilst it carries out renovations.

The school numbers are increasing and now stand at 150. The pupils are, in general, doing well, with up to 40% expected to progress to third level. Some pupils need strong support, given their backgrounds and, in some cases, the trauma suffered as they left their home countries, Once they leave school the support systems disappear. For this reason Kate has established a club for recent past pupils in an effort to maintain support.

Dan Ferrari, who succeeded Michael O’Sullivan as PPU Treasurer in 2018, gave a very comprehensive Financial Report. The Annual Dinner suffered a loss as usual but this was ameliorated somewhat due to the raffle and prompt payment for the PV Doyle trophy by the Doyle Collection.

We are very grateful to all our sponsors and members who support the raffle. We could not run the dinner without that help.

The President appealed to past pupils to sign Standing Orders for the annual sub as many are slipping through the net at present.

PPU President, Jerry Carroll, gave his review of the year. The following were the highlights –

  • The very enjoyable evening in the Radisson Hotel in June to commemorate the 21st anniversary of Ken Doherty’s World Championship. Many thanks to Ken for his contribution to the school mentioned above.
  • The choice of Dr. Pat Felle as Row Person of the Year 2019. Pat visited the school and impressed all. He also made a very good contribution to the Annual Dinner.
  • The Annual Dinner was a most enjoyable event. News and Photos have been published here and in previous News Blogs.
  • The Annual Mass for deceased past pupils. This is now joined with St. Andrew’s Day  and was celebrated by the Archbishop. It was followed by a very enjoyable lunch in the Grand Canal Hotel.

Officers and Committee 2019

President – Jerry Carroll

Hon. Secretary – John Cullen

Hon Treasurer – Dan Ferrari

Committee – John Costello, Brian Duncan,  John Murray, Bryan O’Higgins, Shay Doherty, Michael Casey.

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PPU News and Photos April 2019

I attach below some more photos taken at the Annual Dinner in January. Many thanks to Patrick Dowling of Rock Photography for his excellent photos as usual.

This year’s dinner was addressed by students, Mohomad Almassry and Zamir Faizi. Both came to the Row from Direct Provision having escaped terrible conditions in Syria and Afghanistan in very harrowing circumstances.

The audience of past pupils and guests present were extremely impressed by the courage and perseverance shown by the two young men. Their language skills and general presentation were a credit to themselves and the great care provided by Kate Byrne and her staff at the Row.

Times have changed, indeed, since most of the audience sat in the school benches but there is still a great sense of pride in the old school.

  • Photos Dinner 2019

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Annual Dinner 2019

I attach some photos from the above held on January 26th. I hope to publish more photos and information on PPU events over the coming months. Jim Conway.

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