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Westport PTAA Association


The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart was founded by Fr. James Cullen S.J. in the Church of Saint Francis Xavier, Gardiner Street, Dublin, on 28 December 1898. Fr Cullen was born in New Ross, Co Wexford, in 1841 and entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1901.

Fr. Cullen was always concerned with social issues, and his motivation in setting up the Pioneers was to address the enormous damage that he saw excess alcohol was doing in the Ireland of his times. Many workers were heavy drinkers, and alcohol was the greatest drain on the weekly earnings of the family.

He had four co-founders: Mrs. A Egan, Mrs. ML Bury, Mrs. AM Sullivan, and Miss L Power. All of them were women, as Fr Cullen's early vision was of an all-female organization which, through its prayers and sacrifice in pledging to abstain from alcohol for life, would provide spiritual support for people to abstain from alcohol. A very short time into the organization, after much pressure from men to join, Fr Cullen extended the membership to all.

From the beginning, members – who joined in their thousands – pledged three things: to abstain from alcohol for life (which Fr Cullen referred to as “The heroic sacrifice”); to say the Pioneer prayer twice a day; and to bear witness by wearing the pioneer pin at all times. The PTAA has always been underpinned by devotion to the Sacred Heart, and its emblem reflects this.


Members of the Westport PTAA Association

Pioneer Total Abstinance Association meeting times:


Contact Details: Mary McKeown

Telephone: 098 28871


Click here for more information about the PTAA and how to join




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