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.
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 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 rowppu.ie 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.
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.
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.