Limerick Leader supplement records Pat Cox’s glory days as school debating champ

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

FORMER European Parliament president Pat Cox is one of hundreds of well known Limerick people whose pictures are included in a unique supplement carried free with the Limerick Leader this weekend.

FORMER European Parliament president Pat Cox is one of hundreds of well known Limerick people whose pictures are included in a unique supplement carried free with the Limerick Leader this weekend.

All Our Yesterdays, a six-part series of collectable supplements offering readers a unique look into a 30-year treasure trove of archived photographic material, will be carried free with the Leader this weekend.

One very notable inclusion in the first of the series is a picture of a young Pat Cox, dwarfed by two towering - and two years older - fellow students, with whom he made up the school’s debating team in 1967. Mr Cox, who recently moved to Dublin after 18 years living in Cork, recalled his days on the Ardscoil Rís debating team with particular fondness and said his time in the school “was the key to everything else in my life”.

Together with Joe Whelan, Thomondgate, and the now sadly deceased John Ryan, of Shelbourne Avenue, Pat reached the county final of the Safety First Organisation debating competition in 1967 while he was just an ‘inter-cert’ student in the school.

“The two lads would have been two years ahead of me in school - part of which explains the difference in size,” laughed Mr Cox, who was raised on the Ennis Road.

“I have a very clear memory of it and for any child in the school to see themselves in the Limerick Leader meant great excitement for the family and neighbours and friends, so I can actually remember the original appearing in the paper,” he explained.

“In fact, Brother Victor O’Brien, who prepared the team, kept the photo in a scrapbook and when I was in Ardscoil last year they presented the actual cut-out to me which is a lovely momento to have,” he added.

Alan English, editor of the Limerick Leader, explained that the supplements “are not intended as a comprehensive history of that time, but they will give a real sense of what life was like here in days gone by” and said he expected them to become collector’s items in time.