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Centenary Dinner Speech - Ronnie Delany

Ronnie Delany's Dinner Speech

Ronnie Delany’s Centenary Dinner Speech


Taoiseach, Bishop Jim Moriarty, Father Provincial the very Reverend Brian Keenan, School Principal Fr. Martin Daly, Kevin Jennings Deputy Principal, members of the school staff, representatives of the Board of Management and Parents Association, Presidents of other Past Pupils Unions, Past Presidents and officers of the CUS Union, members of the CUS union and your guests, our generous sponsors and their guests, reverent Fathers, ladies and gentlemen.


On my own behalf and on behalf of the hard working committee of the CUS Union, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Centenary Dinner. We are rightly celebrating one hundred years of the CUS Union, which not alone has survived but has prospered and expanded in tandem with the Catholic University School. CUS and the union both are illustrious in origin and rich in achievement.


I am delighted that we are here in such record numbers tonight to celebrate and remember the positive impact on our lives and the wider community of our Marist based education and its attendant fellowship. Your loyalty and support for the old school in attending with your guests is much appreciated.


We are honoured that An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has joined us as our special guest. Your presence is indicative of the esteem in which the School and Union are held for their contributions to Irish education and the general well being of the country. Thank you for your generous and encouraging remarks.


To David Malone, Olympic Champion, I say thank you for being my special guest. We are all proud of your achievement and courage in overcoming diversity. You exemplify what I believe is the ethos of the School – to educate us in the broadest sense to take up whatever challenges are out there and to win.


We are delighted that the Presidents of the other Schools Unions can be with us tonight – St Mary’s, Terenure, High School and Roscrea. Interestingly, these are schools with whom we have enjoyed keenest sporting rivalry over the years.


I am of course honoured to be President of the CUS Union in its Centenary Year. The immediate past-President Dr. Conor O’Brien (when inviting me to go forward for election), assured me repeatedly that there would be ‘no work’ involved in the position. The ‘assurance’ now can be added to the three greatest lies of all time.


Notwithstanding, I would like to pay tribute to the committee and sub-committee for their fabulous support in organizing all the arrangements so far for our Centenary Year, including tonight’s banquet. In particular, I must thank Billy Alexander, Honorary Secretary for his outstanding work and remarkable energy. John Campbell Vice President (and ‘MC’ extraordinaire) has also been most supportive. Sean Sexton, our distinguished Past President, has had remarkable success in securing most appreciated sponsorship for this evening (Name and thank sponsors here).


Before proposing the toast to the School, tonight sees the publication of the CUS UNION 1902 – 2002 A Brief History. It is a remarkable publication looking back over a hundred years to the very foundation of the Union. It recalls the people and historic events and times which have contributed to the well-being and continual development of our Union. Frank Scott Lennon the Editor, ably assisted by many, is to be congratulated on the timely production of such a history.


Frank has asked me to do two things. First of all to thank Bill Kearey Class of 1973 and the main Lexus dealer in Cork, who generously sponsored the history making it all possible. And secondly, that the CUS Union 1902 – 2002 A Brief History will be distributed to all the tables later; cost a measly €15 Euros. So be sure to go home with a copy, you’ll enjoy the read (and may even find your photo in it).


At the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the CUS Union in 1952 the then Principal of the School, the very Reverend Patrick Byrne reportedly said that the aim of the School was "to turn our young men morally mentally and physically fit to take their places in the world”. He pointedly mentioned that the year had been a very successful one, quote "the examination results being highly satisfactory”


The School has continued to prosper happily to this day. The relationship between School and Union remains strong with the Past supporting the Present in its academic objectives, extra curricular and sporting endeavours. The Unions calendar of events annually has been designed to enhance the quality of the relationship.


CUS continues to prosper offering a well balanced all rounded curriculum. Greater emphasis is on academic excellence to meet the challenges of the points system and the expectations of parents. The School, through small numbers in the classes and excellent leadership combined with the timeless efforts of a dedicated and vibrant staff plays a leading role in education in Ireland.


Enrollments continue to increase in the School. The new building to match this demand will be fully paid for by the end of the year. Plans for the further development of the School will be announced shortly. All of this against the background of a rejuvenated preparatory School – numbers have doubled in the last five years.


The stated aim of the School remains to develop pupils who are self assured, able to make their own way in the world and generous in their response to others. I like to think that we the Members of the Union, the past pupils of CUS exemplify those same characteristics.


In that spirit may I ask you and our guests to rise, charge your glasses and to ask "the future well being and prosperity of Catholic University School”.
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