- Pioneer Total Abstinence Association
The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart (or PTAA) is an Irish organisation for Roman Catholic teetotallers. Its members are commonly called Pioneers. While the PTAA does not advocate
Prohibition, it does require complete abstinence from alcoholic drink from its members. It also encourages devotion to the Sacred Heartof Jesusas an aid to resisting the temptationof alcohol. Pioneers wear a lapel pin with an image of the Sacred Heart, both to advertise the organisation and to alert others not to offer them alcohol. The association publishes a monthly magazine, "The Pioneer".
The PTAA was founded in
1898by James Cullen SJ in response to widespread alcoholismamong Irish Catholics as the earlier temperance movementof Father Mathew was fading from memory. [cite book |title=Alcohol, Drugs and Health Promotion in Modern Ireland |first=Shane |last=Butler |date=2002 |pages= pg 19 | isbn=1-902448-77-4 |publisher= Institute of Public Administration|location= Dublin] . In the 20th Century, the term "Pioneer" became synonymous with teetotallism among Irish Catholics, and the PTAA influenced public policy. In 1923, Eoin O'Duffyas Commissioner of the Garda Síochána(Civic Guard) encouraged members to join the PTAA, and allowed Gardaí to wear the Pioneer pin on their uniforms, in exemption to a general ban on symbols and adornments. [cite book |title=Eoin O'Duffy: A Self-Made Hero |first=Fearghal |last=McGarry |isbn=0199276552 |pages= pg. 120 |publisher= Oxford University Press|date=2005 ] By 1948, the PTAA claimed 360 000 members. [cite book |title=Church and State in Modern Ireland, 1923–1970 |first=John Henry |last=Whyte |isbn=0389041734 |pages= pg 176 |publisher= Barnes and Noble|date=1971 ] In 1956, a Commission of Enquiryinto the licensing lawsin the Republic of Irelandwas appointed by the Minister for Justice, James Everett; the PTAA nominated one of the 22 members, John K. Clear. [Butler, op. cit., pg 30.] Clear assented to the majority report of the Commission, which favoured easing the (widely disregarded) restrictions on opening hours of public houses introduced in 1925, although the Catholic hierarchy subsequently opposed the resulting Act. [Butler, op. cit., pg 31.]
Roman Catholic children in Ireland who make their Confirmation (typically at age twelve) are encouraged to "take the pledge" not to drink alcohol until they are at least 18 (the
legal drinking agein Ireland). The PTAA is active in this drive, and encourages teenagers, particularly in Religious-run secondary schools, to join the PTAA and "keep the pledge". In spite of these efforts, underage drinkingis widespread in Ireland. In train with the growing secularizationof Irish society, membership of the association is increasingly restricted to older people. Younger Catholics who choose not to drink alcohol are unlikely to belong to the PTAA.
The PTAA does not strive to simply stop people from drinking. It also aims to create opportunities for fun and social activities without the need for the presence of alcohol. It organises many competitions, such as table quizzes, Réadóirí (a talent competition; Réadóirí is the Irish word for Pioneers), and sports. Local Centres (parishes or schools) compete in these competitions at regional (against local parishes), diocesan, provincial and all-Ireland level. The Pioneers also run two annual
seminars, one for young pioneers (13-18), and one for older Pioneers (18+).
*cite book |title=A Nation of Extremes: the Pioneers in twentieth century Ireland |location=
Dublin|year=1998 |first=Diarmaid |last=Ferriter |authorlink=Diarmaid Ferriter |publisher= Irish Academic Press|isbn=0716526239
* [http://www.pioneertotal.ie/ Official website]
* [http://www.ptaa.ie/ Ulster Provincial website]
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