In accepting this honour of becoming your Union President for the coming year, I am mindful of the difficult circumstances we must navigate our way through.    The uncertainty for current students, parents and Old Clongownians is one I share and I hope you have all taken comfort from our strong community with the ongoing communications and pastoral care emanating from the College.  Fr. Michael Sheil’s reassuring words have resonated with so many during these last few months and I thank him for his continued support to all.

I am struck by how many of our alumni are making great strides in the fight against this pandemic and it is a tribute to the exemplary institution that is Clongowes Wood College and one which brings great pride to the entire school community.

There are so many questions yet to be answered and with regards our alumni community I wish to pose some more.  How can we collectively define our relevance in this new world?  How can we seek to collaborate more effectively as a community for good?  What responsibilities to we wish to take on for the wider community so that we continue to live the ethos of being Men for Others?

As we head towards our 125th year we of course must reflect on our many achievements, namely our affiliation with The Peter McVerry Trust and the Union Benevolent Association, yet the Past Pupils Union ask for your support moving forward.  I hope in the year ahead the committee can, with your help, identify new ways for us to be men of purpose and confidently acknowledge our ability to make a difference in this ever-changing and challenging landscape.

This year will take a different course for the Union.  At this time it is impossible to say with certainty when we will be in a position to congregate again as a group for the traditional Business lunch or Union Dinner.  The Committee remain optimistic that we will have the opportunity to meet and we will continue to update all OC’s on this as the weeks and months progress.

Finally, I would like to welcome to the Union the unforgettable Class of 2020.   I know we all shared their disappointment and sense of loss… being denied their last months of preparation for the Leaving Certificate in the familiarity of their school with their friends and teachers was a devastating blow for the boys and their families to bear.  We have no doubt they will prevail and excel in their ongoing studies and I look forward to hearing their stories and experiences at Union gatherings to come.

Paul Maher
Class of ‘61
AMDG

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