Date Released: 08 May 2013
Over 100 years of trade union activity in Galway was celebrated at an event in SIPTU House, Galway city, on the evening of Thursday, 2nd May.
Organised by the SIPTU Galway District Committee, to commemorate the 1913 Lockout and celebrate May Day, the event was addressed by local historians and veteran trade union activists.
More than 60 activists drawn from 12 trade unions active in the city attended the event, which began with historian John Cunningham describing Galway’s own Lockout in 1912 and the general strike of 1913. Historian Mary Clancy then described the trade union and political activities of women during this period.
Elizabeth Walsh, who for many years was a SIPTU shop steward at NUI Galway told the story of her involvement in a strike for union recognition at University College Galway in 1976. She was joined by Mary Cooke and Breege Carr both of whom also played a major role in that dispute.
Tish Gibbons from SIPTU’s Galway District Committee, chaired the event and also displayed union record books from the 1950s and photographs of union events in the 1960s and 1970s.
She said, “It is important, particularly in these difficult times, to remind ourselves of the great achievements of those who went before us and who founded and maintained vibrant union branches in this city, dedicated to defending and representing working people”.
SIPTU District Committee Secretary, Diane Jackson said, “It was a privilege for the SIPTU Galway District Committee to organise this very successful event. As we are reminded of our past heritage we are also aware that there is still much to be done, as we continue to organise for fairness at work and justice in society”.