Message to The GAC Membership

01.05.2021

Dear Fellow Members,

Well, this “annus horribilis” is finally over and I hope for a better 2021 for us all. This will be my last monthly message as I turn over the reins to my successor Gerry Forde in January. I know that Gerry and his team will do a great job.

Before signing off I want to give a shout out to my fellow members of the Executive Committee and give you an accounting of our stewardship these last two years.

Your Executive Committee is a fully integrated highly competent team of individuals. Our Vice President Faith Maciver brought a wealth of financial reporting and company regulatory experience to the table. Pat Carolan past President and present Recoding Secretary and my favorite orthopedic surgeon, brought a lifelong commitment and deep knowledge of the history of the Club and its culture along with the managerial skills derived from running his own surgery business. Tom Harding and Jim Corcoran brought a depth of knowledge and experience with treasury functions, banking relations and financial issues. Hilary Koreeda brought organizational skills stemming from her long career with the Town of Fairfield. Amy O’Shea brought her legal skills in real estate and tax issues as well as her knowledge of the wine and liquor industry as the co-owner of Percival’s cocktail, wine and beer lounge in Fairfield and a knowledge of local regulatory issues as a member of the Representative Town Council. Gerry O’Donovan and Tony Hogan brought their knowledge and experience in the design and building construction industry.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize Tommy Flaherty our General Manager, Chris Boccamazzo our Permittee and Jeff Delaney our Club Accountant, Frank Byrne and the Election Committee and all of our staff and volunteers for their skill and dedication.

These folks have put in long hours in keeping your Club operating and improving.
The following represents a report card to you of our initiatives and an accounting of our stewardship.

For the first time in our history, the Club has introduced a credit card payment system, which has reduced the amount of cash that must be managed in our operations and in the process has made our treasury functions more efficient. In addition, it has made our payment system more convenient for our members.

We continue to strengthen our financial reporting and forecasting capabilities. This has allowed us to develop realistic budgets that are grounded in rock solid numbers and measure our performance against that budget in real time allowing us to make an early detection of any divergence from budget and the ability to make any required course changes. Financial discipline has also allowed us to pay down the balance of the $1,400,000.00 mortgage loan we took out for the 2008-2010 expansion to under $400,000.00. Long gone are the days when we didn’t balance our checking account from year to year and were paying overdraft charges to the bank while at the same time uncashed checks sat in our safe.

With the development of reliable financial figures, we were able to establish a capital account which we could turn to in the event of an emergency. Just such an emergency slammed into us in March of 2020 when had to suddenly and completely shut down our operations with the advent of COVID-19. The existence of a cash reserve and trust in the accuracy of our cash flow predictions allowed us to make the decision to retain every member of our staff on the payroll. Unlike many other clubs in the area, not one of our employees was fired or laid off. Most of our employees are also members and we are community and pull together. While our operations are run as a business our founding purpose was not to make money but rather to preserve, promote and pass on our culture. The famine years still live in our ancestral memory and we did not turn our back on our own.

Our financial acumen and reliable financial records also enabled us to navigate the seemingly impenetrable thicket of conflicting regulations from the feds and the State to secure an Economic Disaster Loan with very favorable terms to provide a further cash cushion should we need it.

We had a serious leak problem in the Carolan Room. The leaks were coming from the ceiling and the windows. You may recall seeing buckets in the middle of the floor during a rainstorm to catch the leaks. It was rather embarrassing when we had visiting authors or professors and space had to be cleared of chairs to accommodate the buckets. We removed the old roofs, plugged all the holes, put on a new roof and eliminated the leaks and the buckets. We also replaced all the windows in the Club and also installed retractable designer shades to eliminate the glare from the headlights of the cars in the parking lot at night and sun glare during the day.

Another major problem we faced was the perennial flooding of the basement and disabling of the elevator. As you may know, the Club is located in a section of town with a very high-water table. During periods of very heavy and sustained rainfall, the hydrostatic water pressure causes the basement to flood and with the surrounding ground saturated, the water has no place to go even if the pumps could keep up. Seeking the lowest level, the water flows into the elevator pit and shorts out the elevator’s electrical system. Repairing an elevator is a major expense. We thought about eliminating it, but that would have meant that those members who were unable to navigate stairs, would be unable to access the meeting rooms on the second floor. We spent over a year studying the problem and various options. At the end of the day, we installed a new pumping system with double the capacity while at the same time keeping the old system as a backup. This entailed digging through the slab to a depth a three feet to create larger sump pits to accommodate the larger pumps, hooking in the underground drainage pipes to the new pits, resizing the drainage pipes to accommodate the increased pumping capacity, tying the drainage capacity into storm drains and rewiring the entire electrical system to accommodate the increased power demand of the larger pumps. At the same time, we installed a back-up gas fed generator which would keep the pumps running if the same storm that brought the drenching rain also knocked out electricity to the Club. The elevator was reprogrammed to provide the default stop when not in use would be the second floor and not the basement as it previously was. Sensors were also installed in the elevator pit to alert the general manager of any problems before they could increase.

As part of our drive to make the Club more accessible and welcoming to all of the populations of our membership, we looked at the unutilized side yard. This very valuable asset was providing a bit of scenic pleasure but not much else. In 2019, we developed a plan to install picnic tables and umbrellas to provide for informal outdoor dining and games for children and adults. The move was an immediate hit. Young families came in during the day and older members at night. I wish I could say we were prescient with regard to the impact of COVID. The fact is we weren’t, but the availability of outdoor dining and take-out food service saved the Club when the State shut down indoor dining because of COVID. Suddenly, we had the only large outdoor fenced space in town where folks could come for dinner; and come you did!

When the State allowed the reopening of indoor dining, mindful of the fact that the age of large portion of membership put them in the “at risk” category and out of concern for the health of all members and staff, we scrupulously studied and followed the State regulations and guidelines in the conduct of our operations. We reduced the percent of capacity in our dining rooms, placed plexiglass in front of the bar, required masks be worn by the staff at all times and all members when not sitting and dining. I have been told by many members that the Club is the only place they feel comfortable dining because of our strict adherence to the rules.

Also mindful of the need for our facilities to be accessible to all our members, we created a number of reserved handicapped parking places near the entrance to the Club.

Additionally, we conducted the first outside drive-thru election in our history and we haven’t been sued yet; fingers crossed. We instituted the first outside Membership Meetings and when the weather turned too cold instituted a virtual meeting with the minutes and video posted online. (A copy of the December meeting minutes is attached to this message.)

Finally, we have kept the doors and wheels from coming off the Club during this terrible time and pass on a Club which remains financially sound to our successors.

So endeth the Report. As I look back on the last two years, if it does not seem to be too presumptuous, to paraphrase 2 Timothy 4:7 , we have fought the good fight, we have finished the race, we have kept the faith.

God bless us everyone (thanks Tiny Tim),
Gerry Reidy
President
Executive Committee
Gaelic American Club

12.19.2020

UPDATED REPORT
Dear Fellow Members,

As I advised you on December 16th, as a result of the visit to the Club on Friday night December 11th by a member who subsequently tested positive for COVID, we shut the Club and required all 29 of our employees to be tested. We now have received the results of the tests for 28 of our employees and are awaiting the test results for the 29th.

I regret to report that one member of our wait staff who had worked within two days of their being tested for COVID, tested positive. She will not return to work until she has been retested and the test results are negative for the virus.

Any and all members of the staff who came in close contact with her during those two days will remain home until after Christmas even though they have all since tested negative for the virus.In case you are wondering, “close contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of the person for a period of 15 minutes over the course of the day.

The employee worked on Saturday December 12th from 10 to 4 and on Sunday the 13th from 10 to 1. Since that time, the Club was shut for 4 days during which time a professional cleaning company did a microbial scrub of the air and surfaces of all areas of the Club. I attach some picutes of the cleaning crew in action. The Club has now reopened.

I have made a full report of this development to the Town health authorities and I have been advised that other than the employees who came in close contact not returning to the Club until after Christmas, no more action is required at this time.

I also asked if we needed to contact trace any members who may have been present and was advised that since a waitress is constantly on the move and has only brief and intermittent contact with diners, the diners would not be considered to be in “close contact” with her.

We continue to ask any of our members who start experiencing shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, fever and coughing to stay home or be tested.

We wish our employee who is also a fellow member, a speedy recovery and we wish that all members stay safe.

God bless,

Gerry Reidy
GAC Executive Committee President

I will of course continue to keep you updated of any developments.

UPDATED REPORT
Dear Fellow Members,

As I advised you on December 16th, as a result of the visit to the Club on Friday night December 11th by a member who subsequently tested positive for COVID, we shut the Club and required all 29 of our employees to be tested. We now have received the results of the tests for 28 of our employees and are awaiting the test results for the 29th.

I regret to report that one member of our wait staff who had worked within two days of their being tested for COVID, tested positive. She will not return to work until she has been retested and the test results are negative for the virus.

Any and all members of the staff who came in close contact with her during those two days will remain home until after Christmas even though they have all since tested negative for the virus.In case you are wondering, “close contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of the person for a period of 15 minutes over the course of the day.

The employee worked on Saturday December 12th from 10 to 4 and on Sunday the 13th from 10 to 1. Since that time, the Club was shut for 4 days during which time a professional cleaning company did a microbial scrub of the air and surfaces of all areas of the Club. I attach some picutes of the cleaning crew in action. The Club has now reopened.

I have made a full report of this development to the Town health authorities and I have been advised that other than the employees who came in close contact not returning to the Club until after Christmas, no more action is required at this time.

I also asked if we needed to contact trace any members who may have been present and was advised that since a waitress is constantly on the move and has only brief and intermittent contact with diners, the diners would not be considered to be in “close contact” with her.

We continue to ask any of our members who start experiencing shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, fever and coughing to stay home or be tested.

We wish our employee who is also a fellow member, a speedy recovery and we wish that all members stay safe.

God bless,

Gerry Reidy
GAC Executive Committee President

I will of course continue to keep you updated of any developments.

12.04.2020

Dear Fellow Members,

As you are probably aware, COVID cases have been rising in Connecticut. Among the sites identified by Governor Lamont as a venue for transmission were bars and pubs; which were closed by Executive Order. Restaurants however were allowed to remain open under certain restriction as to hours and modes of operations. The GAC has been complying with those restrictions.

State authorities have recently identified fined and shut down a number of “bars masquerading as restaurants” in order to remain open. In a drive to shut down these dangerous and illegal venues, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection issued additional regulations on December 2nd differentiating between venues whose main business is the sale of alcohol with the purchase of food being optional or minimal (deemed a bar and illegal) and venues whose main business was the sale of food with alcohol available for diners (deemed a restaurant and legal.)

The Rules more in the nature of a clarification to insure that alcohol is only sold as part of the traditional dining experience are as follows:

Alcohol can only be sold to customers seated at a table for consumption at the table and the customer must have placed a food order before or at the same time as the drink order.
The term “Food” includes larger salads or soups, plated entrees, hamburgers, pizza and foods similar in quality to a meal such as two or more starters, cheese and meat platters, loaded nachos, fried calamari, chicken wings and platters for more than one person as long as there is sufficient quantity to constitute a meal for each diner. A single side order by itself will not qualify as a meal. A substantial dessert item qualifies. Chips, pretzels, peanuts and the like do not qualify.

While all snacks and food items will be available for purchase, the purchase of alcohol will only be available where Food as described above is also purchased.

Since we are already complying with State law and we check it every week to be sure we remain in compliance, these New Rules are not really aimed at us and they will make little change to our members.

Prior to the new Rules, a member was required to order food as a condition to also being able to order alcohol. Under the new Rules, the member must place a food order before or at the same time as placing a drink order.

What constitutes Food has been clarified.

Members have not been allowed to stand or walk around with drinks and that has not changed. Tommy and Corky have modified the menu to add a number of platters and entrees that qualify as Food.

With regard to sporting events being screened at the Club, we will open the Carolan Room with 25 spaced chairs which is the limit on indoor gatherings. Only soft drinks and coffee/tea will be available in that room.

The clarifying Rules regarding dining will be applicable in other areas of the Club and the kitchen will be open when the games are on.

For your information, Ireland has adopted the same approach. According to government statistics, 80% of the pubs in Ireland do not serve food. These are termed “wet pubs” and are shut down.

For the remaining 20%, alcohol can only be sold to a person at the same time as they order a meal costing at least $11.00 and masks must be worn at all times when not seated.

Your Executive Committee is doing all they can to keep our members and staff safe and comfortable while at the same time promoting an enjoyable experience for all.
Whether you view these rules as intrusive depends on whether your goal is to come to the Club for drinks and the rules are a nuisance or whether you come to the Club for a dining experience and view the rules as intended to keep you healthy. To avoid being frustrated, if your intent is the former may I suggest you go to an establishment which shares those views.

I believe every person with Irish genes is a born debater which is why we have so many Irish lawyers. I would ask that you leave your debating skills at the door. Our staff have been given a set of rules they must abide by. Whether those rules are insane, idiotic or undemocratic is above my pay grade. I would ask that you go along with them with the good grace you have always shown in the past.

No doubt there will be more rules in the future if the COVID count continues to rise and the 2021 Executive Committee may have some difficult choices to make.

To paraphrase a former President, the good news for me is that you “won’t have old Gerry Reidy to kick around anymore”. Just kidding you lot are the nicest bunch of people on the planet.

Regards and stay safe,

Gerry Reidy
Executive Committee President

11.30.2020

Dear Fellow Members,

Well we are starting December. Unlike Richard the third, I hope it is not our “winter of discontent” nor will it be the “times that try men’s souls” as described by Thomas Paine. I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel for all of us. In the meantime we have to put our heads down and power on through.

As you may know, our November Membership Meeting was held outside in the side yard on the Sunday afternoon following the second Friday of the month. We plan to do that again; weather permitting. We also lowered the quorum requirement to five because the Governor’s Executive Order restricted the amount of people that could attend an event which would have made it impossible to have at least 40 members present and voting. A video of the meeting is on our website; or should I say a partial video as the first nine minutes were not filmed due to a technical glitch. This was a real tragedy as I gave an inspirational oration to open the meeting. There have been rumors to the effect that there wasn’t a glitch and my oration ended up on the cutting room floor by design, but that’s fake news.

In any event, a copy of the minutes is attached and they give an excellent account of what took place at the Club since the October meeting. I would normally supplement the information contained in the minutes but I want to concentrate on the upcoming elections.

As you know, the annual elections will be held the first Sunday in December from noon to 6 PM as required by the by-laws. This year however is different from every other year in our history and we knew early on that the election couldn’t be held in the usual manner. We had to come up with a procedure that complied with the  State COVID Regulations, protected the safety of our members while at the same time,  did not operate to disenfranchise a major segment of our membership by presenting a stark binary choice of “vote and put your health at risk” or “don’t vote, stay at home and stay safe”. Such a choice would be particularly egregious when most of our longest admitted members, who are passionate in their support of the Club and who fill the volunteer positions required to keep the Clun operating year in and year out and turn out to vote year in and year out, are also in the “at risk” category for COVID.

We considered remote voting by mail or electronic voting by email. As much as I would have enjoyed getting together a team of lawyers to argue over the “fairness” of such a procedure, issues related to privacy, personnel, system capabilities, resources and distribution made it impractical to go down that route.

We knew the number of people who could be indoors voting at any one time was limited by State COVID Regulations. That could mean a line out the door in inclement weather with six feet spacing which would discourage members from coming out to vote; something we were trying to avoid.

As such it was decided to hold the vote outdoors. This presented other problems. We still had the issue of an outdoor line, but in addition found the voting machines were impractical as they were too heavy for the lawn and would have to be cleaned after each voter.

THE DRIVE-BY VOTING SYSTEM

The Election Committee then turned to the concept of some type of drive-by system which would eliminate the need for outdoor lines and be as contactless as possible reducing the cleaning protocols after each vote. They came up with the solution that permitted members to vote without ever getting out of their cars using paper ballots and a lock box. Members will drive in the regular driveway and proceed to the back section of the parking lot. On their way, they will pass a table staffed by members of the Election Committee who will check the IDs of voters in the car and give the driver the appropriate amount of ballots. The car will then proceed to the back section where there will be about 30 parking spaces for members to pull in and mark their ballots. Although the Club will have pencils available to mark the ballot if you need one and they can be dropped in a box on the way out, it would be greatly appreciated if you brought your own writing materials as it would be safer and avoid their having to be cleaned for reuse. They will then continue around the parking lot to the other side where there will be a lockbox into which members will slip their ballots. The driver will then exit the way he or she came in or park in one of the parking spaces in the front section and go into the Club for breakfast lunch or dinner.

Incidentally, I want to thank Tom Walsh for the original drive-by voting thought. Tom has been the source of many great ideas for which I have taken credit over the years.

I would like to say something about the candidates. If in the past, running for office has been an ego trip or a popularity contest; it ain’t any more. Managing a Club of six thousand members with assets and revenues in excess of several million dollars requires skill, dedication and long hours of work. This was never more so than it is now. Every candidate for next year’s Executive Committee has demonstrated that commitment and is worthy of our thanks for agreeing to serve. Normally all the candidates would have been presented to the membership at the November meeting. That couldn’t be done. Normally you would see them pressing the flesh and kissing babies at the Club; no could do this year. As such Frank Byrne asked them to resubmit their statements, updated if they so chose, so that the membership, particularly  those members who did not know one or more of the candidates, could review the statements and make an informed vote. The statements are attached and I would take it as a personal favor if you took the time to read each statement and come out to vote.

I also want to give a shout-out to the members of the Election Committee. In order to make it possible for you to remain in your cars, they will have to be out in the weather from noon to 6PM. They don’t have a choice of taking a pass or sitting out the election if the weather is stormy or snowy.

So, here’s to Frank Byrne, Peggy O’Connor, Jude Fitzgerald, Dave and Ann Marie Curtin, Ralph and Eleanor Burke, Art and Connie Beagan and Ray Holian.

God bless and see you on the 6th.

Gerry Reidy

GAC Executive Committee President

 

10.26.2020

Dear Fellow Members,

I am pleased to announce that we had a quorum at our October Monthly Membership Meeting. This allowed us to finish some pending business. I have attached a copy of the minutes of the meeting but would like to highlight a few matters.
This year’s Budget Committee consisting of Tom Harding Chairman, assisted by Jim Corcoran, Jeff Devaney and Sean Kelly will present the 2021 budget at the November meeting and it will be voted on at the December meeting.

Due to the presence of a quorum, we were finally able to officially announce the formation and members of the Nomination/Election Committee. The members are Frank Byrne Chairman, Ralph and Eleanor Burke, Dave and Ann Marie Curtin, Art and Connie Beagan, Peggy O’Connor, Jude Fitzgerald and Ray Holian. The Committee has been hard at work with respect to this year’s election and there are multiple candidates for each office. The nominees will be announced at the November meeting and each will have the opportunity to say a few words about themselves and their qualifications for office. It won’t be as much fun as the recent hearings in Washington but it’s the best we can do.

Speaking of the November meeting, as we anticipate that an evening outside in November may be a bit challenging even for the most hardy of us, we decided to temporarily shift the time and date of the meeting. We debated a number of possibilities and finally settled on Sunday November 8th at 3PM in the Carolan Room. Mindful of the risks attendant to a meeting indoors, we will strictly observe the rules set out in Governor Lamont’s Executive Orders including the wearing of masks and social distancing. Entrance will be through the side doors and temperatures will be taken upon entrance. While we will do everything we can to protect the health of our members, no amount of precautions can fully eliminate all risks and we urge all members who are not feeling well or who are members of the “at risk” population, to stay home and catch up on matters by reading the minutes of the meeting which will be posted on line.

Financially, we continue to power on through. Tom Harding gave a report on our financial condition and his report is included in the minutes. I want to give you a snap shot of the two main activities that are the lifeblood of the Club. From a strictly revenue versus costs of goods sold for the pub and restaurant for this September. Keep in mind, this is just an exercise to give you an indication of the social health of the Club and does not take into account the impact of depreciation, debt repayment, payroll expenses, maintenance, dues etc. To the extent that revenues can be said to indicate the number of members who came to the Club, it is an indicator of the vibe in September.

As you might expect with the Governor severely restricting bar service, our bar sales were down considerably from September 2019 but our sales still exceeded our cost of goods sold by $12,209.00. Surprisingly, restaurant sales were slightly higher than this time last year with sales exceeding cost of goods sold by $27,163.00. Our outside service saved us. You may have noted the sleek look of our staff as they have had to be constantly on the run to take care of the many members who chose to come down and enjoy the outside ambience the Club has to offer. For many members, with vacations away cancelled, the side yard became the default destination location.

Another indicator of our health is the return of Friday Night Trivia. Faith and Angus Maciver will be hosting the event on Friday night October 30th at 8PM in the Carolan Room. The entrance will be through the side door, temperatures of all participants will be checked and all social distancing protocols will be observed. I know it sounds a bit draconian, but everyone’s health is our primary concern.

Additionally, GAA County Irish football and hurling games will be aired on screens in the restaurant and Carolan Room on Saturday at 8AM, 10AM, noon and 2PM. There will also be limited seating in the bar area, but State rules do not allow any standing.

Finally, Halloween is coming up and we will be hosting a party for the the “trick or treaters” young and old in the side yard on Saturday from 1 to 5. (Sunday rain date) While I hear many reports of activities around town being curtailed on Saturday night, this will give the kids and the “adult kids” a chance to show off their costumes and leave us all guessing as to who the devil they might be. We will have 2 bands playing, candy bags for the kids, and prizes for best costumes for parents and kids. So all you ghosts, princesses, buccaneers, ball players, superheroes and witches as well as those in mufti come on down and enjoy the craic. We are also putting “collcannon” a traditional Irish dish on the menu.

God bless and I hope to see at least 40 of you at the monthly meeting,

Gerry Reidy
President GAC Executive Committee

10.08.2020

Dear Fellow Members,

I hope this email finds you in good health or on the road to recovery, physically and emotionally.

I want to bring you up to date on what’s been going on at our Club since my last message. If this sounds like the lead-in to a sacrament; it’s not!

As the crocus is an early sign of spring, an early sign of progress on the road to normalcy for us was that fact that that we lacked a quorum at our September 11th Monthly Membership meeting. So, there I was with all the other members of the Executive Committee, “all dressed up and no place to go”. So far, I have resisted calls to solve the problem by amending the by-laws and dropping the required quorum from 40 members present and voting to 5. Aside from the fact that it should not be an insurmountable task to muster 40 members out of 6,000, it takes a quorum at two successive meetings to introduce a vote to amend the by-laws. No quorum; no vote.

We presently allow those members who are forever vigilant against the perils of dehydration, to stay safe by providing medicinal beverages during the meetings. Not being asleep at the switch, we are also considering several suggestions. One, which is a favorite of mine, is to allow bingo between the various Committee reports. Ah well, one can only hope.

Since we did not have a quorum, we did not have an official meeting and hence there were no minutes. However, our intrepid recording secretary, Pat Carolan ever hopeful that at some point in the meeting additional members would show up and give us a quorum, took notes of what turned out to be an informational session. I have attached a copy of his notes for your perusal. I have also attached a photo of the meeting to give you an idea of the set-up.

In addition to the items described by Pat, I am happy to report that our members are making great use of our side yard. For those of you that have not seen what we have on offer and being mindful of the adage, that one picture is worth a thousand words, I have attached a number of photos to this message.

Above are two shots of the side yard beginning to fill up on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. And below is of the sunset over the Club. Not exactly Galway Bay, but it’s the best we can do under the circumstances. We then move into the evening with a picture of the yard with the lights on.

In addition to the normal craic on Thursday through Sunday, I am pleased to report on two very successful events. The first was the successful return of our very popular Trivia Night hosted by our Vice President Faith MacIver, who was responsible for coming up with the idea and making it happen. Here is a picture of Faith assisted by her husband Angus presiding at the outdoor event. In addition to serving as Vice-President and thinking up the questions and answers for Trivia Night, Faith also finds time to host the senior lunches. \Thanks, Faith, for all you do for the Club. In addition to the normal craic on Thursday through Sunday, I am pleased to report on two very successful events. The first was the successful return of our very popular Trivia Night hosted by our Vice President Faith MacIver, who was responsible for coming up with the idea and making it happen. Here is a picture of Faith assisted by her husband Angus presiding at the outdoor event. In addition to serving as Vice-President and thinking up the questions and answers for Trivia Night, Faith also finds time to host the senior lunches. \Thanks, Faith, for all you do for the Club.

The first was the successful return of our very popular Trivia Night hosted by our Vice President Faith MacIver, who was responsible for coming up with the idea and making it happen. Here is a picture of Faith assisted by her husband Angus presiding at the outdoor event. In addition to serving as Vice-President and thinking up the questions and answers for Trivia Night, Faith also finds time to host the senior lunches. Thanks, Faith, for all you do for the Club.

 

We also had a very successful, sold out Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Here’s a shout out to Suzanne Moore and Rose Leahy.

As no Irish celebration would be complete without bagpipes, I am attaching a video, yes you read right, courtesy of the technological skills of the Chairperson of our Communication Committee, Maura Kallaway, I am attaching a video of the GAC pipe band entering the yard. We are all pleased to see Colleen Fenton’s return to the band.

VIDEO PIPE BAND

We were also treated to an exhibition of Irish dancing by dancers from the Lenihan School of Irish Dancing. I have attached a short video of a part of the show. In case you are wondering to whom that bald pate at the beginning of the clip belongs the FBI in Washington has developed scalp recognition technology that will allow us to make an identification. All I can tell you at this time is that it is not mine.

Video Lenihan

Music was provided by the Keltic Kick and Camac. I have attached a picture of Judy Sullivan instructing on how to be a unicorn.

You have a chance to redeem yourself this coming Friday. Please come out for the Monthly Membership meeting and give us a quorum. Granted we will not have bingo, but we will have draft beer, fine wine, water, tea, coffee and whatever else floats your boat. The meeting will be outdoors, so check the weather report or bring an umbrella.

Regards and stay safe,

Gerry Reidy

President GAC Executive Committee

(PS: Unfortunately for those members who cannot receive the electronic version of this Message, Maura has yet to figure out how to embed a video in the print version.“)

 

09.04.2020

Dear Fellow Members,

It’s now September and we are almost through the summer. We continue to benefit from having the use of almost an acre of lawn for outdoor dining. We are very fortunate in this regard and we are the only in-town establishment that can accommodate over 80 diners and still comply with the State regulations as they apply to the required distances between tables. The new tables and umbrellas we purchased last year have served us well. I have attached a picture of the outside activities at the Club on a recent Saturday. We are able to keep the Club up and running only because you have turned out and supported our events and our in-door, out-door and take-out food and beverage service. Speaking of beverages and because I am forever vigilant of the perils of dehydration, I am pleased to announce that imports are again flowing and we now have a number of beers available on draft Including Guinness, Seahawk, Stella, Miller Lite, Blue Moon, Bass, October Fest, Captain’s Daughter and Rosemary’s Baby. I’ve often wondered if the baby was a descendant of the Captain?

Members have continued to support us in other ways. That stalwart crew, that on their own saw a need at the Club and filled it by starting the Monday Night Barbecue has donated $1,000.00 to the Club and I would like to recognize their service and generosity.

Thank you Jay Dunn, Tommy McLoughlin, Mike Dunn, Tom & Nancy Schutte, Joe Martinelli, Lorry & Ellie Scott, Mike Connelly and Eileen Kiely as well as Kevin Dailey for supplying the food and Corky for his assistance.

Our biggest achievement on the road to normalcy, has been the fact that we were able to hold a Monthly Membership Meeting in August in the side yard; the first one since February and we actually had a quorum. “God willin’ and the crick don’t rise”, we will hold our September Membership Meeting in the side yard on September 11 at 8 PM. As with the August meeting, beverage and snack service will be available during the meeting. I am not saying that we would not have had a quorum but for this service, but simply pointing out that coming out for the meeting shouldn’t be a chore. So I expect to see you all there.

We covered a lot of ground at the meeting. Although the minutes are posted, some of our members cannot yet avail themselves of in-door dining at this time and would not be able to read them. To make sure you all know what transpired at the meeting, The minutes can be found below. They were prepared by our recording secretary Pat Carolan and I would appreciate your taking a few moments to read them. They are almost as enjoyable as Pat’s Monthly Messages to the Membership when he was president.

Although the minutes cover all the usual subjects in greater detail and Maura Kallaway our director of communications has sent out announcements, there are a few events I want to highlight.

  • This Monday, the Club will hold its annual Labor Day barbecue from 12 to 2:30. The barbecue will consist of ribs, chicken, hotdog, burger, coleslaw and potato salad assuming you can fit all that on one plate for $17.00. I don’t know how we can make money at that price but Tommy and Corky claim we can; barely. The items are also available on an a la carte basis. Run to your phones right now and make a reservation. We can’t afford to be found wanting at this time.
  • On Friday 9/18, Faith Maciver ably assisted by her partner in crime Angus Maciver, will be hosting the most attended monthly event we have at the Club; Trivia Night in the side yard from 7 to 9. Not to be missed!
  • We will also hold a Half Way to St. Patrick’s party on Sunday September 20th in the side yard. There will be music, pipers and dancers from the Lenihan School of Irish Dancing. Maura will keep you appraised of this “can’t be missed” event.

Although we congratulated our men’s soccer team at the meeting where their coach Jamie Poff presented the Club with a massive trophy, I want to give a shout out to the fact that they are back to back SASL champions this year and but for a demonstrably visually impaired ref who caused them to play a man down for most of the game by issuing a red card, they would have won the State quarter finals. In addition they have started an “Over 50” men’s team which I understand has received the enthusiastic endorsement of the Connecticut Chiropractor Association.

You will also note the minutes contain the report of Nora Reda, the Chairperson of our Good & Welfare Committee regarding our members who are ill or have passed on.

In addition Tom Harding gave an analysis of the financial report and a prognosis of our financial future. As John Cameron Swazie used to say, “we took a lickin and came back tickin”. Although we took a big hit on revenues and profit, we will still finish the year with more cash in the bank than we finished with in 2018.

These are tough times but we will get through them as we got through tough times in the past. In fact, we closed out World War II 75 years ago this month. In this regard and as we move into the autumn I am minded of a poem by Paul Verlaine the 19th century French poet, “The Violins of Autumn”. The poem was a code used by the allies to alert the French underground that the Invasion of Europe was imminent. The first three lines, “The long sobs/ of the violins/ of autumn” meant that the Invasion was to start within two weeks and the next three “ wound my heart/ with a monotonous/ languor” meant that the troops would be landing within 48 hours and it was time to start blowing bridges, railroads and otherwise discomforting the Gerries. In this regard I hope you all enjoy the October Fest we now have on tap. You can even get it without having to blow anything up.

Well that’s the history lesson for today. It shows what happens when a person has too much time on their hands.

Best regards and stay safe,

Gerry Reidy
GAC Executive Committee President

MEMBERSHIP MEETING MINUTES 08.2020

08.12.2020

Dear Fellow Members,

Like all of us, your Club  has battled severe financial headwinds while trying to stay  open and accessible to our members.

We a have not had a Membership Meeting in many months and a report on our financial condition is long overdue. I want to share with you our operational  successes and our financial  disappointments.

We have been prevented from doing so up to now, as Gov. Lamont’s Executive Orders limit the capacity at in-door events to 25 attendees while a quorum for the meeting requires a minimum of 40 members in attendance.

With this in mind we will hold our first outdoor Monthly Membership Meeting this Friday at 8pm  in the side yard; weather permitting.

As the capacity at out-door events is limited to a hundred people, please get there early to insure you can get a seat.

As your safety and comfort is our highest priority, all members  must wear masks when entering the Club’s premises. While there is no service at the bar and attendees will be asked to remain seated in their chairs which will be spaced and not roam  around, members of our staff will be circulating  to take any drink orders.

As this  will be our  first time with an out-door meeting, I hope you cut us some slack If things don’t go as smoothly as you would like.

God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will see you there,

Gerry Reidy

GAC Executive Committee President

PS: If you don’t feel up to it or are uncomfortable with being in a setting with a number of people, please stay home and stay safe. We will get a copy of the minutes to you”

June  2020

Dear Fellow Members,
 We are slowly coming back to life from a dark time; but we are doing it in a very measured way. The craic is back. Our side yard is great spot to kick back and relax. We had restaurant and bar sales of $30,000.00 for the month of June. That’s a long ways from June of last year when we hit $100,000.00 but it’s a damn site better than the desert wasteland of April and May. Each weekend gets better and I thank you for that. As you can see from the attached photos, we are now open for indoor dining. This past weekend, live music was provided on Saturday night by Damien Connolly and the mood was magical.
We are reintroducing our early opening on Wednesdays through Fridays and will offer a special happy hour menu of sliders, tacos and mozzarella sticks, for $2.00 a plate. You can also order French fries, (sweet or Idaho), onion rings or waffles.
July 4th will be a banner day for us. We will hold our first barbecue of the year from 12:30 to 2:30. Corky and his staff are going all out. A plate of bbq ribs, bbq chicken, hot dogs, slider burgers with sides of coleslaw and potato salad, or any combination thereof, will be available for $16.00 a plate. If that sounds like a “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” moment, you can get a hot dog and fries for $5.00.
Music will be provided by Chuck & Andy from The C-Sides from 12:30 to 2:30. I hope to see as many of you there as can make it.
For planning purposes, it would be a great help to Corky, Tommy and Chris to get an idea of how many members will be there and I would appreciate your calling (203)254 0673 to make reservation.
Faith Maciver our Vice President and volunteer in charge of a host of popular events at the Club (you name it, she probably runs it) and her side kick Angus, will start up Trivia Night in the side yard on July 10th at 7. No snacks can be brought into the Club as per the Governor’s regulations, but the happy hour and regular menu will be available for participants as well as bags of chips, nuts and pretzels. This should be a sell out and again you should call (203 254 0673) to reserve a table.
The regular menu is available at all regular hours and we continue our take out meal service which has proven to be very popular.
I know members have been asking about when they can use their scrip. I promised you that when the Club opened for in-door dining you could use your scrip for all events. That time is upon us and you can now pay by scrip or credit card. Additionally you can pay by check or gift card. You can obtain a gift card, where the balance has no expiry date, by purchasing one by check at the Club or by mailing in a check and we will mail you the gift card. We are not accepting cash at this time as a safety measure for our members and staff. The dollars in our pockets do not come directly from the mint and unless you made them yourselves, their origin and formers possessors are unknown and we don’t want them floating around among members and staff. I have suggested a money laundering service but we are still working out the details.
Please come out and join me on Saturday when you will hear calls of “Who was that masked man?”. It’s your chance to be incognito as nobody will know you with your mask and should the moment move you, you can even pretend it’s Halloween.
Regards and stay safe,
Gerry Reidy
GAC Executive Committee President
PS: I will be sending a separate message regarding our members.
May 27, 2020
Dear Fellow Members,
Well we are almost through May in these tough times. We are coming through it together, however. The first sign of spring may be the crocus, but for us it was our opening for outdoor dining starting this past Memorial Day weekend. Little did we realize at the start of the year why it would be so memorable
Opening day on Friday marked a milestone in our resurrection. The weather was great. For those of you at home I have attached a couple of pictures of the event. The first was taken of the outdoor dining area by Tommy Flaherty our intrepid general manager who risked life and limb to get an aerial shot from the roof of the Club.
Incidentally, the reason we are requiring reservations is to avoid members coming in close proximity of each other while waiting in line for a table. So, pretend it’s Halloween, put on your masks and come out for the craic. We will also continue our popular take-out service during this time. A links to both menus can be found below.
As you can see, the tables are spaced much farther apart than the minimum required six feet specified in the Governor’s Order. The average space between tables is in fact, fifteen feet but still within shouting distance.
It seemed like an echo of happier times as you can see from the photo of Jude Fitzgerald former Club president and presently well-known bartender, reprising her role in, “Have Guinness, Will Travel”.
Because the members who turned out, told us it was a very welcome and effective cure for cabin fever, we are going to continue the outdoor dining
Wednesdays: thru Friday are 3 to 5pm | 5 to 7pm | 7 to 9pm
Saturday: 12 to 1:30pm | 1:30 to 3pm | 3 to 5pm | 5 to 7pm | 7 to 9pm
Sunday: 12 to 1:30pm | 1:30 to 3p | 3 to 5pm | 5 to 7pm
The number for reservations is 203- 254- 0673.
Members once again showed their concern for others while going through tough times by donating $1,800.00 for our front-line health workers box lunch program. We delivered six hundred lunches to the Carolton Center. I have attached a picture showing the last of the deliveries on a table at the Center. Your concern for others is consistent the traditions of our culture. The Irish have long memories. In this regard you may have recently read about the donations coming from Ireland to the Navaho and other Native American tribes suffering severe economic deprivation as a result of the coronavirus. As you may also know, in an American version of “To hell or to Connaught”, the Cherokee, Choctaw and Creek tribes during their forced 1,000 mile trek to Oklahoma, following their expulsion from their farms in Georgia and the Carolinas, the famous “trail of tears”, took up a collection and sent what they had to Ireland for famine relief. As I said, the Irish don’t forget their friends. I am minded of the old Irish saying, “May God give us the wisdom to know our friends and may he turn the heels of our enemies, so that we will know them by their limp.”
On a sad note, since we have not been able to hold our monthly membership meetings, it falls to me to inform you of the passing of some of our members since our last meeting; Patricia Connelly, Rita Bennett, John Corsair Robert Hough and Breda O’Halloran.
In addition, Club member Brendan Quinn lost his mother Ann and Teresa McCormack and Jim McInerney lost their sister Christine O’Donnell.
Our best wishes and condolences go out to the families.
Stay safe and God bless,
Gerry Reidy
GAC Executive Committee President

May 20, 2020

Dear Fellow Members,

I AM VERY PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT WEATHER PERMITTING, 

THE CLUB WILL OPEN OUTSIDE DINING BY MEMBERS IN THE SIDE YARD STARTING ON FRIDAY MAY 22ND.

As you can see from the photo of the table set-up, we have made the maximum use of our space, with no table closer than six feet to any other table. We are extremely fortunate that unlike many local restaurants, we have a very large outside area that is completely fenced in and we are not forced to utilize sidewalks or parking lots to enable outdoor seating.

No one has any experience in providing outdoor dining in the present situation. We are mindful of the need to take steps to protect the health and safety of our staff who will be preparing and serving the food and drinks as well as you, our members, who will be coming to join us.

I am sure many of us can identify with the ground hog, as it feels like we will be emerging from a long winter spell in our burrows to enter the springtime of our lives.

We have worked hard to ensure everyone has a great experience, while at the same time following the safety measures promulgated by the State for our protection. The last thing any of us wants, is that two months of our complying with the State’s shelter-in- place regulations are wasted by a careless disregard for the safety practices we are required to follow.

By utilizing the outdoor tables, we purchased last summer and the round tables from the Carolan Room, we have been able to field 18 tables.

The menu specially designed for the Memorial Day weekend Is attached. Although there will be no bar area, as part of your dining experience, members can also purchase mixed drinks and beer and wine by the bottle and glass which will served at their table.

As we have 6,000 members for 18 tables, and we need to avoid members waiting in line for tables which would be a violation of the “social distancing” regulations, we are instituting a seating protocol with reservations required.

There will be Three Seatings on Friday 3 to 5, 5 to 7, 7 to 9;   
There will be two additional Seatings on Saturday and Sunday 12 to 1:30 and 1:30 to 3.
The number for reservations is 203 254 0673.

As we are not set up to operate in the rain, please call on the day you are scheduled to come if the weather report is threatening. Let’s hope that we won’t get any snow.

Members will be asked to show their membership cards and they and their families will enter the side yard through the gate in the parking lot which will be clearly marked. All members and family must be wearing masks upon entry. Masks can be removed for eating and drinking.

Although there will a list of procedures to be followed by members posted at the entrance, I want to advise you of some of the measures we are taking to protect you.

  • All members of staff including kitchen, bar and servers will be wearing masks and gloves;
  • No reusable menus will be used;
  • Tables and seats will be sanitized after each seating;
  • Disposable plastic plates, glasses and cutlery will be used;
  • There will be no buffets or self-service stations, all service will be at the tables;
  • No members will be allowed in the building except to use the rest rooms which will be sanitized frequently. Access to the restrooms by members who are required to be masked will be by a different door than that used by the servers.
  • Hand sanitizers will be available.
  • The next rule will be very hard, but we need to do it, parents will be required to monitor their children so as to maintain the required six-foot distance from other diners;
  • We will accept reservations for four members at each table and up to five members of a family;

I note that the Governor has indicated that Clubs can open for indoor dining on June 20th while the Connecticut Restaurant Association has requested an earlier date of June 3rd. We plan to start indoor dining on the earliest date authorized by the Governor at which time we will also accept payment by scrip. At the present time as with “take-out” sales (which will continue during Wednesdays to Sunday s) we can only accept payment by credit card.

I will be sending my usual monthly message to members by a separate mailing.

I hope this Memorial Day weekend will also be memorable as the starting of our reawakening. As we are all new to this, please cut us a little slack if we seem to be inefficient or messed up. We will get better as time goes on. I promise.

WE ARE OPEN!

God bless and stay safe,

Gerry Reidy
GAC Executive Committee President

PS: If any member is not feeling well or has recently experienced any flu like symptoms, we ask you protect yourself by staying home.

Members should also be aware of the State’s recommendation that people in high risk groups such as those with underlying conditions or over the age of 65 should continue to stay safe and stay home.