Creme de la Creme

Presidents and Prefects 1953-1960

1953 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Devine P. Taggart A. McAnerney ?
1954 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Corkery P. L. McLaughlin B. McAleer P. Campbell
1955 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Hegarty F. Parke D. O’Rourke ?
1956 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Hegarty O. Milliken M. Martin D. Taggart
1957 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Hegarty M. Martin M. O’Rourke ?
1958 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Hegarty M. O’Rourke K. Kelly ?
1959 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Cunningham D. Devlin G. Slowey ?
1960 Fr. Sheridan Fr. Cunningham S. McGeary C. Barton ?





Phonso Daly
Ulster Herald – February 2010

Sandy Hill E_CREME DE LA CREME-09Retired Carrickmore teacher Alphonsus Daly, Olympic gold medal-winning rower Steve Redgrave and Gary Mabbutt, who captained Tottenham Hotspurs to FA Cup glory in 1991, are shining examples of how a full and active life can be led by people with diabetes.

Last month, Alphonsus was honoured with the Alan Nabarro Medal from Diabetes UK for successfully living with diabetes for over 50 years. He was first diagnosed with the condition when he was a 17-year-old boarder at St Patrick’s College in Armagh. Despite the myths about diabetes, his message is full of hope, proving that it need not diminish a person’s lifestyle.

Alphonsus taught in St Columbkilles Primary School, Carrickmore, for 35 years before retiring in 2001. He has also travelled the world, won medals for ballroom dancing and has an enthusiasm for life that is inspiring. ‘Respect’ for diabetes and a discipline to check his sugar levels and self administer insulin injections have been the key, since Alphonsus’s mother was first alerted to his condition.

He explained, “I was 17 and came home from college at Christmas, 1960. My mother noticed that I was drinking a lot of water and remembered somebody constantly drinking liquid who died from the condition. “The next day, which was Christmas Eve, I went to Dr Quinlivan. He carried out tests and I was immediately sent to hospital. I was there for three weeks and came out and went back to Armagh on February 1. “Nowadays they wouldn’t take you into hospital for half an hour. The only indication was that I was drinking more than I should have been and had gone down a bit in health.

“I was discharged from hospital on one long acting insulin injection but today I use the Pen type Insulin treatment. Even though I inject myself four times daily, I would not revert to the old ways.“It becomes a way of life that I have incorporated into every day. If my sugar goes low I become a bit weak and unsteady. I have had lows but checking blood sugar tells me where I am and stops that happening.” Constant injections are necessary in order to administer insulin as there is not enough produced by the pancreas of a diabetes’ sufferer.

While it may appear as overwhelming news to receive at the age of 17, Alphonsus has met diabetes head-on and never gave in to self-pity or defeatism. He went onto college and graduated as a teacher before going spending wonderful decades at the local primary school. He coached children’s GAA teams and takes special pride in former players including Seamus McCallan, Ciaran Loughran, Brian and Conor Gormley who went on to play for Tyrone in All Ireland finals. Pride of place in his kitchen is a photograph of a young Conor Gormley in his primary school team along with their coach, Alphonsus. Beside it is the famous block in the 2003 final, with the title, ‘From Our Star to All Star.’

He has also taken teaching courses throughout England as well as visiting north and south America and Europe many times. The paradox has been that by paying full attention to treating diabetes, Alphonsus has gained a freedom and independence to enjoy the gifts of life. He added, “If the consultant said he was going to put me back on one injection a day, I would say, ‘No, you’re not.’ The more often you take your insulin, the better control and the better job it does. It didn’t have a major impact on my life. Diabetes will not inhibit a person’s life if it is treated with respect.”

Celtic legend Danny-McGrain played at the highest level while dealing with diabetes as did Gary Mabutt of Spurs and England. Indeed Mabutt became an icon for many children with the condition after he famously appeared on the BBC’s children’s television programme Blue Peter and demonstrated injecting insulin into an orange to show how he dealt with his condition on a daily basis.

Alphonsus also take great pride in a card sent to him by the former Tottenham star as he identified with their shared condition. His zest for life gives heart and hope to those who are in the early stages of learning to live with diabetes. He goes to ballroom dancing classes every week and his bronze and silver medals bear testament to his prowess across the floorboards. He also cherishes his Alan Nabarro Medal, which commemorates the memory of Alan Nabarro who was given six months to live after being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of seven in 1922. However, thanks to the discovery of insulin later that year, he lived for another 55 years. During his lifetime Mr Nabarro campaigned tirelessly to put a stop to discrimination against those with diabetes. Alphonsus was “very surprised and delighted” to receive the award.

He is testimony to a number of myths surrounding diabetes. Despite sound bites, diabetes is not contqgious, is not caused by eating sugar and does not stop a person driving a car. As well, people with diabetes can eat sweets or chocolate, providing it is part of a healthy diet.

Alphonsus’ message is “good management of diabetes is the key to a healthy life.” He also is most grateful to his wife Deirdre, family circle and friends for support and understanding. Special thanks for a life well lived go to the medical staff and Chiropody department at Tyrone County Hospital and Carrickmore Medical Centre. Chiropodist checks of the feet are vital in order to monitor the circulation and toes to ensure their shape is unaffected.

Alphonsus’s story gives hope and encouragement to younger people who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes.
His message to them is, “It will not inhibit you from full life. When treated properly, it is nothing more than a minor inconvenience.”


Rev. Joseph Mullin
Fermanagh Herald – October 2008

Sandy Hill E_CREME DE LA CREME-10Fintona-born pastor marks 40 years in the priesthood

The parish priest of Lisnaskea, Canon Joseph Mullin told parishioners at the week-end that he was ‘overwhelmed’ by their presence at a special Mass in Holy Cross Church the previous week to mark his 40 years in the priesthood. The Mass was organised by his Curate, Fr Ian Fee who, in his homily, said they were also as a parish community marking Canon Mullin’s 15 years of dedicated, loyal and selfless ministry in Aghalurcher (Lisnaskea and Maguiresbridge).“He has responded to the call of the Lord himself to act as a guide, sentinel, teacher, and is a true companion on the journey of faith for this whole community.”Fr Fee recalled Canon Mullin’s influence on him whilst he was a student in Donamoyne to which Canon Mullin, then based in Carrickmacross, was a frequent visitor to the school.

Speaking at Masses at the week-end, Canon Mullin sad marking 40 years of priesthood brought him to thoughts of his home in Finton a, his family, his Ordination Day and the various parishes he had served in.

‘’I give thanks and celebrate too the stages of life which brought me happily to Aghalurcher. I am deeply grateful for the continued help, support and friendship of you all. For whatever service I have rendered, for what truth I have witnessed to, I give thanks to God and to you all.”

He said he would hold the memory of their appreciation very close and he especially thanked all who had worked so hard to plan, organise and run the celebration.


Phil McCrystal
Fermanagh Herald – July 1998

Sandy Hill E_CREME DE LA CREME-13A glorious era recently closed on St Mary’s Primary School, Brookeborough, when principal, Philip McCrystal said a poignant goodbye after a 35’ year long association with the school.
Mr McCrystal, who had the distinction of serving all of his illustrious career in St. Mary’s, was the guest of honour at a presentation function, held in Brookeborugh Hall.

The proceedings began with a special Mass, celebrated by Canon Patrick McCaughey, and Fr D Dolan, and followed by a nostalgic memoir in Mr McCrystal’s honour. It was attended by upwards of 200 people including past and present pupils and staff, parents, Board of Governors and community groups within the area.

The retiring headmaster, was presented with a number of gifts from those in attendance. Amongst those making the presentations were Year 4 pupils, Aidan Boyle and Mary Curran, parent representative on the Board of Governors, Mr McCrystal, originally from Dromore and who has been residing in Lisnaskea for a number of years, will sadly be missed from the school where he was held in the highest respect by staff and pupils, alike.

Blessed with an easy-going manner, Mr McCrystal has an organised mind that has permitted him to indulge in a number of outside pursuits, not least Lisnaskea Credit Union Ltd which he has served as honorary Treasurer for the past 14 years.

Socially, he enjoys golf and is the captain of Clones Golf Club as well as finding time for cards, story-telling and fishing.

A widower since the death of his wife, Rose in 1987, he has four grown-up sons and, in his retirement, intends continuing with his Credit Union work as well as fishing and golf.


Pat Fahy
Ulster Herald – September 2010

Sandy Hill E_CREME DE LA CREME-16Still fighting for justice

Patrick Fahy’s entrance into law in the late 1960s coincided with the civil rights campaign across the North of Ireland. It was inevitable that the Drumquin solicitor would become a political activist as well as a thorn in the side of the judiciary, as he saw at first-hand the injustices in the courts and society.

Forty years ago this month, September 1970, he first rented an office in Omagh. Patrick Fahy and Company on John Street now has nine solicitors on its books as well as instructing top barristers in the Crown Courts. There is also a sister office, Fahy Corrigan Solicitors in Enniskillen.

Born and reared in Drumquin, he was educated at the local primary school and Omagh CBS before going to Queen’s University. It was not a straight run to a degree, as he explained, “I failed my first year through ‘enjoying’ myself and overindulging in the good things in life. I graduated in July 1967 and was the first solicitor in Omagh to come from a non-legal background. After three years as an apprentice in Derry, J did the finishing certificate and opened the office above what is now the Elbow Bar also on John Street in Omagh. At that time it was Kate’s Bar owned by Kate O’Hagan. I was attracted to the idea of doing law but no great thought went into it. Certainly, I developed a passion for law and really enjoyed the academic side of it.”

During his time as an apprentice in Derry, the civil rights campaign was in full voice. “I was at the civil rights march in Derry on October 5, 1968 when police baton-charged the protesters. Many people would relate the beginning of the ‘Troubles’ to that day. I was also in Derry on Bloody Sunday. I’ll not say I was in the line of fire but I was well aware there were shots going on around about me. It was something I had only seen or ever heard in Western fiIms. We were hiding in the door of a maisonette off the Bogside.

“I had grown-up in a period when we were given no sense of Irish history – the Catholic Church was as responsible as anybody else for that. There was no such thing as hearing Irish songs or Irish music at school; it was things British and Scottish in the 50s. There was an acceptance of the situation which was borne of fear but in the 60s the people were claiming their rights and their heritage.”

In the late 1970s, Pat made the journey into politics while representing many clients who were not getting justice in the courts. Being a high-protiIe solicitor and politician soon brought hostility from the RUC and others.

“I stood in the election for Westminster for the Irish Independence Party in 1979. From a nothing position we got 12,500 votes. It showed there was a big nationalist constituency out there that wasn’t represented by the SDLP. That was the importance of it. Then I was elected onto the council in Omagh but I only lasted for one term because it was very boring.

“It was just facing the implacable opposition in the DUP who would be hurling insults across the table at you. That wasn’t politics at all, it was just abuse. I was also heavily involved in the H Block campaign and the first hunger strike in 1980 and then the second one when ten Republican prisoners died. It was at that time when Sinn Féin emerged as a party serious about looking electoral support and really that ended my involvement in politics.”

That involvement did not go unnoticed as Pat continued his legal profession. “It would not have helped my client base. I was willing to pay that price or whatever it meant. In dealing with the police, you could have cut the bitterness in the air when I went over to the court. I was routinely harassed on the roads for petty driving offences. I got bullets sent to me in the post and I was constantly being warned by people to be careful. I probably took it on board to some extent but everybody was living in fear to some degree.

“I represented people at the Magistrates Court in Omagh for almost 30 years. Most of the caseloads would have related to people charged with weapons offences, before it went to Crown Diplock Court. That was the atmosphere then. “I was of the view then, which I have not changed, that the whole system was carefully designed to ensure convictions of those they wanted to convict. The evidence was either manufactured or else placed before a judge who was mindful of his position and who was guarding him and who was paying his money.

In other words justice counted for very little. But I do think that has since changed. You will find an element of injustice in any judicial system but judges now have to be seen to be operating impartially and are subjected to fairly high standards of behaviour. There are so many remedies now, for example recourse to the courts in Europe. Generally peoples’ rights are much more understood and recognised now than they were back then.”

Outside of work, Pat’s greatest passion is Gaelic games and culture. He played for Tyrone minors back in 1961 and 1962 and served as chairman of the local Wolfe Tones GAA club in Drumquin.

Last year Pat achieved a master’s degree and is about to start a doctorate in human rights which he intends to combine with his work.

“I have five children, Michael, Desmond, Deirdre, Grainne, and Gearalt and am very proud of them all. They are all in law apart from Deirdre, who with her husband runs and owns a cafe deli in Skerries, Co Dublin. They have all done well, but I mean that in terms of they are happy and getting on well in life. I also enjoy spending time with my grandchildren and my wife Robyn shares my enthusiasm for life.”

Things have moved on and times have changed since 1970 since Pat first opened an office in Omagh. However, his passion for law and justice has not quenched.

Only four months ago Pat was called from his bed by Sinn Féin to the election centre in Omagh as the third count took place in the controversial Fermanagh-South Tyrone vote for Westminster. That vote went before the court last week and it clearly reflects the overlap between law and politics that for decades has been the life of the Omagh-based solicitor.


Jim Corr
Ulster Herald – October 2012

Sandy Hill E_CREME DE LA CREME-17In a lifetime that has taken him on countless adventures, Gortin man Jim Corr has spent time as a rodeo rider, a crane driver, a tall ships captain and a musician. Now back home in his native Tyrone, the 70-year-old is enjoying catching up on lost time, recounting his adventure past and turning out a tune or two on his five-string banjo.

In almost five decades away from home, Jim, the eldest in a family of seven, has lived on a Navajo reservation, nurtured troubled teens on board ships on the high seas and helped with reconstruction work in the wake of a destructive hurricane.

“I’ve always been fiddle-footed and, keen to see what’s over the next hill and then over another hill,” Jim says. On his first trip to the USA in 1966, Jim “bumped into these rodeo guys” and
travelled the east coast from New York through New Jersey and down to Florida. “I worked in some amateur rodeos and some professional ones and ended up on the Gulf coast,” Jim recalls. ‘’At that time developers were planning to build retirement homes and we had to take the wild cattle out of the Everglades so parts of them could be drained.”

1969 saw Jim on the move again, headed for Biloxi, Mississippi where parts of the area had been devastated by Hurricane Camille which :had claimed over 130 lives.

“It was a fierce storm which caused havoc,” Jim recalls. “I got a job as a crane driver and we had to knock down the old buildings and clean up the place in the wake of the hurricane. I hadn’t ran a crane in my life and told them ‘just give me 15 minutes to figure this’ thing out,’ and 1 did and got the job there and then,” he laughs.

After six months, Jim returned to the rodeo circuit, moving to New Mexico and teaming up with the Berryhill Cattle Company. It was here that the Gortin man spent time living on the Navajo reservation. Following this, Jim spent a year living alone in the Zuni mountain range close to the Rockies – where his nearest neighbour lived 40 miles away. It was here his brothers flew to visit him and it took them a week to get acclimatised to the thin air.

“It was rough living, but no rougher than it was in Ireland 150 years ago,” Jim contemplates. “There was lots of quiet, clean water and if you were smart you would have a stock of firewood in for the winter.

“It differed a lot from home. You would have called a gun on the saddle or in the pick -up and you had a pistol on you most of the time. You would have used the gun mainly to hunt deer. But if you were bucked off the horse and injured, you could use it to signal for help and let people know where you were. There was also a lot of rustling going on and people would be shot – you took care of your own stuff out there rather than running to the police.”

Returning from the outback, Jim moved back to Pennsylvania where he undertook a Masters in Education degree at Pittsburg University. This led to a new development in the former rodeo rider’s career as he began devising a programme which involved taking young people from deprived backgrounds and training them aboard tall ships. Starting off as a deck hand, Jim worked his way up to captain and spent a total of 25 years at sea, sometimes for up to eight months at a time, sailing the Caribbean and down the coast of South America.

“These kids would have come from homes or jail or would have been locked up for one thing or another,” Jim explains. ‘’As well as their time running the ships they would have had a full academic programme and been taught the likes of maritime history, marine biology, navigation and rigging engines. Everywhere we went was part of the curriculum.

When they came off the ships they would have had ~ credit for any school they were connected with.

“It took a tremendous amount of patience. These kids had come off the streets with absolutely nothing. Out of 14 kids, one went back to jail, the rest went into the coastguard, the army, the navy or went back to university to finish their studies.”

In 2004, Jim returned to Ireland and set about trying to convince governments North and South to set up a similar training school for kids at sea here. He worked with Ocean Youth Trust Ireland, a charity sail training company carrying out cross-border work with young people but was dismayed to learn that the work involved Protestants one week and Catholics the next, lacking a proper integration structure.

“I had hoped to use the Jeanie Johnston for the sea training programme but none of the authorities and most of the politicians didn’t want to hear of it,” Jim says.

From an early age, the Gortin man had enjoyed a love of music. Initially, he learned to play the fiddle, then moving on to the fivestring banjo. Mentor throughout the years was acclaimed folk artist, Tommy Makem. Over the years, Jim has written countless songs and during his time working with young, troubled people in the States he used music as a means to communicate and encouraged them to write. His self-penned songs garnered awards at the Kilkenny Beer Festival of yesteryear.

Since returning home, Jim has thrown himself into the local and national music scene. As well as gigs locally, he has played at festivals in Sligo, Galway, Waterford and Cork with trips also to Liverpool and Holland and a sea shanty festival in Gran Canaria. Earlier this year he also played the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. “I write songs about life,” he says. “People you meet, things you’ve done and places you’ve been to.”

On the film front, Jim has been on the credits of the 1991 movie ‘Passed Away’ starring Bob Hoskins; appeared in the famine docudrama ‘Death or Canada’ which was filmed aboard the Jeanie Johnston; appeared in a documentary about good friend Davy Hammond and for the last two years been an extra on ‘Game of Thrones:’

Jim has also been putting his seafaring skills to good use by helping mend the rigging work on the replica famine ship in situ at the Ulster American Folk Park.

“I’ve spent time as a cowboy and time on the tall ships. I’ve always had the ability to figure things out quickly and that has stood by me over the years. You just get into a lifestyle and you either like it or not, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my times over the years.”


Michael Farrell Retires

3 December 2015

Solicitor, Michael Farrell of FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres), who represented Ms Joan Clarke in court speaking to the media after the judgement in the High Court.Pic: Collins Courts

Speaking in Dublin this evening (3 December 2015), FLAC’s Senior Solicitor and life-long social justice activist Michael Farrell identified serious weaknesses in the protection of human rights in Ireland, despite the various treaties and laws which aim to protect individuals’ rights and liberties.

Noting that the rights of many of the most vulnerable in Irish society have been overlooked, and commenting on reported signs of a recovered economy, Mr Farrell said: “We must not go back to ‘business as usual’ and we must try to use the lessons from the crisis to put in place mechanisms to protect the vulnerable against any future crisis and to repair as much as possible the damage done by the crisis just passed.” He said that many agencies, lawyers, the voluntary legal sector, academics and government could all put a greater focus in their work to advance human rights in Ireland.

Mr Farrell, who is retiring from his role in FLAC at the end of 2015, was delivering FLAC’s 9th annual Dave Ellis lecture, which commemorates the late Mr Ellis, a community law activist. Commenting ahead of the event, FLAC Director General Noeline Blackwell said: “Michael is an internationally recognised human rights campaigner. He has led an extremely varied career spanning over forty years but his lifelong commitment to the protection of human rights and enabling access to justice for all stands firm throughout. We have been fortunate in FLAC to benefit from his dedication and huge knowledge during his time here.”

In addition to the lecture, the event marked an award to 77 volunteer lawyers. These solicitors and barristers volunteer with FLAC mainly through the legal advice centres which the organisation runs in partnership with Citizens Information Centres, and with the organisation’s Public Interest Law Alliance.

According to Ms Blackwell: “These people are part of a strong, countrywide movement of volunteers who advance access to justice by passing on legal knowledge that people need in their daily lives. They also are part of the tradition of achieving social justice through the law that Michael so fluently speaks of tonight.

“FLAC is indebted to them all for their steadfast commitment and we are delighted they are here tonight to receive our Golden Pin for 2015.”

You can download Michael’s address as a Word doc by clicking this link.