Friday 16 November 2018

Josephine Rooney formed first group for the deaf

The Diary - Hubert Murphy

I came across the story of a wonderful woman from Marian Park called Mrs Josephine Rooney and wonder what was her legacy.

Mum of eight, Josephine formed the Drogheda branch of the National Association for the Deaf over 40 years ago.

One of her children was deaf, something that brought a wealth of courage and generosity to the Marian Park area and marked out Mrs. Rooney as a woman unique among her neighbours.

With eight kids to look after, she couldn't have had much spare time - but she alone comprised the entire branch. She was president, secretary, treasurer and committee all rolled into one. She worked alone, without office, or without payment, keeping what contact she could with the Dublin headquarters of the association, through correspondence with the national organiser.

There were 80 people affected by deafness in the town at that time and she helped many of them to make contact with the head office and obtain hearing aids.

Mrs. Rooney's concern for the deaf started out as a concern for her own child, 10-year-old Patricia, who was one of the younger members in the family. Patricia was a pupil in St. Mary's School in Cabra, where, said Mrs. Rooney, she was getting every care and attention.

Her first entry into the fundraising business was a fortunate one. She had the good luck to get the help of another generous hearted and busy housewife, Drogheda's Mayoress, Mrs. Buckley. Together they organised a guest tea. This brought in £20, all of which went to St. Mary's in Cabra, towards the cost of a swimming pool.

She also organised a dinner dance in the White Horse Hotel - owner, James McArdle, giving the hall for free and tickets thus costing £1.50 each! Cyril Jolly provided the music.

With husband Tommy assisting, Patricia gave the venture everything.

Drogheda Independent