Mountjoy Governor hits out at materialism

The Governor of Mountjoy prison, Mr. John Lonergan, has urged the students of the Convent of Mercy in Roscommon town to give ‘just one hour every week’ to working in the community.    He was speaking at Gleeson’s townhouse in Roscommon last Thursday afternoon where he launched the 33 rd edition of the hugely popular ‘Macalla’ magazine. Denis Naughten TD was also in attendance.   In a section of his speech that was addressed directly to a transition year class that celebrated the culmination of a year’s labour, Mr. Lonergan criticised the ‘materialisation of society’ and suggested that students spend time helping the less fortunate.   ‘Modern Ireland has turned us into a materialistic world. If we stop to think about it we realise that we can’t bring everything that we earn and achieve with us when we leave this world. I would urge all of you to dedicate one hour per week to helping somebody else around you. It doesn’t matter whom you help or how you help them; what matters is that you will help somebody else.   ‘It can be an old person in your community: you could help them for an hour every week. Or if you have a classmate who struggles at a particular subject you could help them with that subject for one hour every week.    ‘The satisfaction you’ll get out of helping that person for one hour will be immense: you will be rewarded one million times over for it,’ said Mr. Lonergan in a well-received address at a function attended by more than 100 people.   Mr. Lonergan praised everyone associated with the publication of Macalla 2007 and emphasised the educational significance of its production.   ‘I am a great believer in projects such as the publication of Macalla. Doing something such as this in a very practical way educates students.      ‘None of us know what’s ahead of us; irrespective of what happens you’ll always remember the production of this magazine. The work that you have put into the production of this magazine benefits you today and will continue to benefit you in life: you will have developed your talents and skills in this process,’ he said.   Governor Lonergan also reflected on the importance of such magazines for posterity and noted that in his own home similar magazines are stored carefully by his own family. His comments were echoed by the school principal Tom Judge who noted in his welcoming address that Macalla magazines ‘increase in value with age.   ‘Macalla increases in value with age. It will always be well-worth reading and looking back on for you. It will bring you down memory lane. You’ll reflect on what has hopefully been a happy time for all of you,’ said Mr. Judge.   The quality of Macalla 2007 was lauded by Mr. Lonergan and by the school principal. Describing it as ‘not just any old magazine,’ the high-profile public servant and social commentator noted that Macalla is ‘a very valuable publication that is of very high quality’. He encouraged students in this respect to be proud of their achievement.    ‘As a society and as a people we are sometimes very slow to say positive things about ourselves and about each other. This is something that merits praise; it is a credit to all of you and I say well done,’ said Mr. Lonergan. Mr. Judge described it as an excellent production and said that it represented ‘the product of a year of hard work.   ‘It seems to be an excellent production: your perseverance and your commitment have paid off,’ said the school principal.   Its editor, Bríd Kelly from Tremane, who noted that its name reflected the editorial content of the magazine, also stressed the quality of Macalla.   ‘Macalla means echo and this magazine echoes the voice of the student body in the school. There is something in it for everybody: we have an art section, a sport section, and a wide variety of other contributions.   The efforts expended by the teachers responsible for the production of the magazine were universally praised at Gleeson’s last Thursday. Mr. Lonergan and Mr. Judge joined Bríd Kelly in thanking Ms. Naughton and Ms. Whyte for their efforts. ‘Things like this don’t just happen: the teachers are to be complimented for sharing their gifts and their knowledge in the production of Macalla,’ said the keynote speaker.   Bríd Kelly’s commitment and initiative were lauded at the launch of the magazine edited by the transition year student. Mr. Judge praised the ‘hard-working’ student in his address; and Ms. Whyte who spoke on behalf of the teaching staff also paid compliments to Ms. Kelly.    ‘The price of greatness is responsibility: you took responsibility and this is a great production,’ said Ms. Whyte when congratulating her student and the other 39 transition year students who participated in this project.   The magazines sponsors were also praised and thanked for their generosity on the occasion.