"Yoga Group 'Trying To Reach Perfection'", Evening Press, By Gerry McMorrow
LEADERS of the Yoga community in Howth, from which two young men vanished mysteriously on‘ Sunday, were today considering the theory that one of the men — a non-swimmer — may have fallen into the sea while on a training run and that his companion got into difficulties when he went to help.
But Tony Quinn, founder of the group who own a house overlooking Howth harbour, ruled out the possibility that the men may have deliberately decided on a swim in wild conditions. “They are generally very quiet lads and wouldn't decide on impulse to jump into the water. We do a lot of running to help us keep fit— but we are not stupid.”
The two men who disappeared, 25-year-old Sean Dillon, a printing worker from Howth Road, Raheny, and 24-year-old Jim Fay, a civil servant from Navan, were among 34 members of Yoga community jiving in a three-storey house at Church Street, Howth, Since their disappearance, the other members of the community have joined in the search — but so far without finding any trace of the men,
Inevitably, the incident has focussed attention on the yoga centre, But the leaders were quick to point out they are not a “commune" in the generally accepted meaning.
House spokesman Martin Forde, formerly of Raheny and an economist, said: “When people hear of a commune, they think of free love and hippies. This is not what we are up to really. We are ordinary people attempting to achieve the ideals of perfection”.
Among the 34 people in the house — a former guesthouse bought co-operatively by the group and some others for £17,000 — are three married couples and two young children. All work at their regular jobs during the day but use the centre to practice Yoga and mental disciplines, self-knowledge, meditation and “healing”.
Most of those in the house have been living together for almost four years, They moved to Howth from a rented house in April, '75 and though the Howth centre is now the only one in operation, the group is considering the purchase of a second community house.
Tony Quinn also spoke of the “hippie” tag. “Well, I don't drink or smoke and nobody does in the house, Neither do we use drugs’.
The house itself seems like any other. But in the silting-room is a large communal library classified into such sections as Fiction, Occult, "How To" books", Health and Fitness, Factual, Religious, Classic and Astrology.
Each member of the household pays £5 week rent in order to clear the loans (obtained only from yoga members) to buy the house, In addition, the house is run on self-catering lines with each member responsible for providing his own food. Another £1.50 is levied each “week for a household fund for carpets, bookcases, etc, A member can also pay 5Op or £1 a week for the yoga classes, though in many cases it is not collected.
The two missing men came to the house about the same time — 18 months ago. Mr. Dillon, a non-swimmer, was a printing worker with Litho Services Lid. in Baggot Street, while Mr. Fay worked with the Revenue Commissioners in Earlsfort Terrace and devoted six days a week to karate practice in the hope of gaining a black belt.
Mr. Fay's training gear was found on the pier wall while only Mr. Dillon’s shoes were discovered. This has led the yoga leaders to conclude Mr. Dillon may have fallen into the sea and Mr. Fay — described as only “a poor swimmer” — took off his training gear, went to his help and got into difficulties himself.
Tony Quinn has known both men for about four years and described them as “very interested" in yoga. “We went out to help as soon as we realised what had happened. The people in the house are like brothers and sisters and this case came as such a shock they just couldn't believe it," he said.
Though not himself a resident in the house, he calls a few times each week, particularly for Monday night meetings when they go through issues which arise in the house,
The decision to use the Quinn name in publicity was taken by a committee which also decided on financial matters.
“Everybody thinks I am making a fortune,” admits Tony Quinn. “The only man who doesn't think so is a the tax man and he has everything about this place. I don't handle any money though I, and the other full-time workers can draw on the fund.”
He hag been associated with yoga now for six years and has about 120 people in his advanced group who could be called at any time to give classes or do anything for the group. Classes are held in a rented basement in Eccles Street, where members can also do weightlifting and body exercises. Beginners are asked to undergo a six-month course divided up into four sections of six weeks, on which some 250 people are now participating, The fee for six weeks is £6 and after passing three months, a second class is given free,
“People's attitudes towards yoga have changed a lot,” he said, “Some of the ideas I proposed some time ago were considered revolutionary, but people are now more enlightened. But still they don't understand fully what it is."
Yoga means union and involves relating to yourself, your neighbour and to creative forces around you - “some people might think of this force as God.” Said Tony: “It is not some question of sitting on top of a mountain. People say We break up families — but the opposite should be the case”,
He drives a white Daimler but says the car ~ 10 years old — was found for him by the group. He also insists that in his healing work, on which he claims a total success rate of 36% and 98% improvement, any donations received are handed back,
“Our ambition”, he said, “would be to give classes for nothing. But it seems people don't attend in the same way, as when they pay for them.”
Tony Quinn “Everyone thinks I'm making a fortune.”
This article was sourced from Dialogue Ireland.