Donations not making it to those who need it
Back in the early 1960s, every Wednesday, without fail, two nuns would visit the Dublin Cattle Market in Phibsboro. Their first task was to call around to all of the stands where the salesmasters sold their stock.
At that time the Dublin market was in decline due to emerging competition from the marts but it still attracted a lot of business during the period I worked there.
I can still see the nuns clearly in my mind's eye, two small and determined ladies, who, once they had finished their rounds of the salesmasters offices, would position themselves on one of the main passageways, not far from my father's stand, accepting donations from whoever passed by.
They were greatly liked by all, perhaps because they were pleasant, quiet and unobtrusive, receiving gifts gratefully but never demanding them.
I think they did very well from their weekly rounds of the market, perhaps because the cattlemen of those days saw a charitable donation as a means of cleansing their souls after clinching so many hard deals.
Who knows what motivated these tough businessmen, but as well as silver, many a note was pressed in to the nuns' hands accompanied with an enquiry as to their wellbeing.
There was a lovely story about how one of the wealthier shipping men invited the head nun to join him in a drink when she was changing her coins into notes in the City Arms hotel at the end of the day's business.
She said she would be delighted to accept his offer and sitting down, asked for a large brandy.