Jody Corcoran: There was great courage in Tom Gilmartin, but also a little sadness
Jody Corcoran recalls his encounters with the late developer, who died last week, at the height of the planning scandals
The story Tom Gilmartin liked to tell most often related to when he worked as a builder in London as a young man. I think he was a ganger or foreman on the site at the time. The Irish lads liked to go to the pub after a hard day's work. Tom occasionally went too, but he was not a drinking man.
This time, he found himself in an alleyway down the side of the pub when he was confronted by what he called a "Teddy boy" with a bicycle chain in his hand. Tom used to tell the story, over and over. He told me about it many times, so much so that it became a joke between us. When he was in bad form, to cheer him up, I used to say: "Tell me about the Teddy boy with the bicycle chain . . ."
As sure as anything, he would tell it again. The Teddy boy had the chain doubled up and wrapped around his fist a few times. He wore a sharp suit, two-toned shoes and he had his hair all slicked back, you know, like a Teddy boy.