Next Branch Meeting
No Branch meetings are taking place until further notice due to Covid regulations. Details of the resumption of meetings will be posted here as soon as they become available.
A presentation was made to 3 recently retired Primary School Teachers at a function in Longford Rugby Club.
Front Row: Denis Connerton, Geraldine Kilgallen and Fintan Farrelly
Back Row: INTO President, John Boyle, District VII Representative, Carmel Browne, Longford RTA Secretary, Noeleen Rooney, Longford INTO Secretary, Deirdre O’Dowd, Longford INTO Chairperson, Carmel Flood
History of Longford Retired Teachers' Association
History of Longford Retired Teachers’ Association
According to the earliest recorded available documents a meeting was held on November 15th, 1980 in the Longford Arms Hotel with a view to reviving the Longford Brach of the Retired Teachers’ Association.
The following Branch Officers were elected:
Chairman: Mr. Liam Glennon
Vice-Chairman: Mrs. McCullough
Secretary: Mr. John McGill
Treasurer: Mrs. O’Mahony
The annual subscription was set at £2.50 and it was agreed that the branch would meet twice yearly. An account was opened in the Bank of Ireland.
At the next meeting on July 4th, 1981 dissatisfaction was expressed at the new basic pension of £5921.50. A £1 levy was collected to cover expenses for the Secretary to attend the RTAI AGM.
The annual subscription was set at £3.00 at the AGM on November 14th, 1981 – 50% to be sent to Head Office and the rest kept for Branch expenses.
By the time of the Meeting in June 1982 the pension had gone up to £6402.50, half the basic salary of serving teachers . Members also learned that they would be entitled to a pro-rata increase in allowances in line with teachers.
The Treasurer reported to the 1982 AGM that Longford branch had 20 members. The bank balance of the branch was £11.60.
The meetings continued in this vein, with the reading of the newsletter and discussions regarding health insurance and Retired Teacher, who worked as substitutes, being required to pay income tax. By 1985 there were 28 paid-up members in the branch. Every effort was made to send a delegate to the RTAI AGM. Votes of sympathy were passed on the death of members. At a meeting in November 1990 members exchanged stories from their teaching career and discussed historical events. All were impressed by the memory of Mr. Greene, who had recently celebrated his 90th birthday. In 1986 the bank balance was recorded as £67.60, £97.10 in 1987 and £123.50 in 1989. By 1992 the bank balance had risen to £200.00. The General Secretary of RTAI, Mr. Bob Doyle, attended meetings occasionally.
There was a gap from 1992 – 1996 and when minutes resumed the venue for the meetings had changed to Longford Slashers Sports Complex and the Chairperson and Secretary were both ladies – Máire Mulvey and Carmel Kelly respectively. Discussions varied in tone and the idea of organising outings and inviting personalities to speak at meetings were mooted. In 1996 members were invited to attend the May meeting of INTO. It was at this time also that the first mention was made of organising an Annual Mass for deceased members. Denis Desmond, National Secretary/Treasurer RTAI attended the Longford RTA May meeting and gave a comprehensive report on parity, eligibility for Social Welfare entitlements, VHI and Nursing Homes among other relevant matters.
In May 2005 our present Chairperson, Leo Donlon, was elected to this office. At this stage the bank balance was €1269.24. Patrick Greene, now aged 105, was ill and unable to attend. By November 2006, Patrick Greene had passed away in his 107th year. The Mass for deceased members, followed by light refreshments had became an annual event as did the visit from General Secretary, Denis Desmond. In May 2008 Denis introduced the new RTAI Handbook and advised members that they were required to register with the Teaching Council if they wished to do substitute work. The medical card situation was discussed at length throughout 2009. Elspeth Hall was elected Secretary in 2010. Funds were getting low again – €22 in the bank in June 2011. There was much discussion regarding Retired Teachers being prohibited from doing substitute work and a general feeling that they were being ‘scapegoated’.
Longford Branch participated in ‘Anseo’ – a gathering of retired teachers who lived or taught in Co. Longford for all or part of their teaching career. The event was held in Backstage Theatre on June 29th, 2013 and the guest speaker was John Quinn.
It was around this time that the Branch went electronic using emails in place of the written letter. In December 2013 Noeleen Rooney was elected Secretary and Leo Donlon agreed to remain on as Chairperson. This brings us into the present era.
Reflections on our trip to Seamus Heaney Centre by Kitty Hughes
We had a marvellous day from start to finish .. lovely coach and driver .. warm sunshine. What a super tea at Laurel Villa – a shrine in itself to Seamus Heaney , and they had the ‘Good China’ out and silver tea pot !! not to mention delicious scones. Then Our Guide Eugene – he was one in a million .. such an entertaining commentary, all laced with the golden voice of Seamus Heaney and his poems singing out over the fields and farms he knew and loved… and the visit to the graveyard at Bellaghy ..to stand at his grave in the shade of the sycamore and ash trees … that was a special moment. The Homeplace Centre was stunning a multimedia exhibition of photos, voices, quotations, stories , memorabilia ..even a biretta and butter paddles..and a Conway Stewart Pen.. .
The lunch was tasty and very welcome ..We did some shopping and headed for home. What a day , good company, great guide, a wealth of literary landscape and writings to remember for many a long day.
Our day in Seamus Heaney’s Derry was one to cherish.