by Eamonn Doyle
It was with a deep sense of sadness that all of us connected with The No Name! Club learnt of the death of our dear friend and colleague Tommy Hannon of Portlaoise on the 17th July last following a protracted period of declining health. The day he decided to become part of our organisation was indeed a blessed day. Both he and his late wife Jo, who passed away in December 2008, gave outstanding service to the young people of this country in a variety of capacities and for us at No Name! Club it was particularly so.
We reproduce here a tribute paid to both Tommy and Jo on the occasion of the Clubs’ 30th Anniversary in 2008. Little did anyone realise that Jo would pass away so soon afterwards leaving a huge void in the lives of Tommy, family and No Name! Club. For those of us who believe, we picture them both together now in Heaven, happy as they are here in what may very well have been their last photo together at No Name! Club.
The No Name! Club has long been fortunate with the high calibre of person attracted to its fold and none is more deserving of this accolade than Tommy Hannon from Portlaoise. Tommy served at all levels of the organisation for over 30 years – as Executive committee and Board member and long-time PRO. He had an active part in many sub-committees and amongst that myriad of involvements, he will forever be remembered for his remarkable contribution over many years as adjudicator at both Regional and National Youth Award Finals. In this respect the organisation is also indebted to Tommy’s wife Jo, who for that same number of years was an ever affable, able and considerate adjudicator. Any young person who attended for those interviews will gladly recall how comfortable and at ease they were made to feel during what was, for them, a daunting and trying ordeal.
As PRO he brought imagination, flair and colour to the production of Newsletters and Magazines. Only those who have had their own experience of such a task will fully realise the enormity of such endeavours and what goes into such productions. Sourcing, sifting, editing, writing or re-writing material, attending all manner of events, taking photographs, arranging and consulting about design and layout – all the time keeping an eye on deadlines, taking deliveries and organising distribution are but some of what’s involved. Suffice to say, it just doesn’t happen easily. That it was done genially and without fuss is indicative of the competence of the man.
Tommy was a native of Drum, Co. Roscommon where he grew up with a love of place, faith, family and friends – enjoying rural life to the full and at the same time, aware of values and beliefs which would stand greatly to him all his life. After Primary School – where his parents were teachers – he attended Summerhill College in Sligo, later joined An Garda Siochána, married Jo, helped rear six children and spent his entire working life in Laois. He was the first Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer in the region and, if anyone ever suited that role to perfection, it was he. Many a young person have good reason to be grateful for Tommy’s understanding and compassion and for following a finger pointed in the right direction. He was a long-time member of Foróige and, having served at all levels with it, became its leader and National Chairman in course. In his younger days his sporting life centred on football when he graced many a team and competed with the best. Latterly his sporting passion was golf and he was well capable of hitting a ball “out of sight”.
Always passionate about what really mattered, and sensible in approach, we all at No Name! Club have many reasons to be grateful for the wonderful contribution to the organisation given honestly, openly and generously. Amongst the many endeavours undertaken, it was Tommy’s dream to secure Full-time Staff and a National Office for the No Name! Club and he worked tirelessly towards that end. Tommy got to see his dream fulfilled as he retired from the Board of Directors.
To Tommy’s immediate family of Mary, Nancy, Liam, Aidan, Orla and Sinead and to his sister Helen and brother Mick, we at No Name! Club extend our deepest sympathies. May both rest in peace.