23 September 2005

Politics off the agenda as minister opens new Freemasons centre

Irish Examiner

23 September 2005
By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

POLITICS will be a taboo topic when Defence Minister Willie O’Dea officially opens a building in Limerick today.
The Freemasons, regarded as the most secret organisation in the country, will open the doors of their new €750,000 centre in Castle Street.

The minister has been asked to do the honours but politics and religion are not allowed in discussion when freemasons meet.

The North Munster Masonic Centre caters for 250 freemasons in Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and North Kerry. The five lodges in Limerick city have 130 members and one of the lodges, Antient Union, dates back to 1732.

Paul Deegan, spokesman for the North Munster masons, said that while they are changing from being ultra-secret to being more open, certain symbolism remains secret. These include their secret handshake and the elaborate induction ceremonies for new members.

Mr Deegan denied that freemasons try and help each other to get jobs or job promotion.

“This kind of thing is very much prohibited, to use membership for personal gain or profit,” he said.

Mr Deegan said the new Masonic centre was open to local groups for meetings.

“And we do not put down conditions or look for anything in return.”

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