Seminar marks 100 years of trade union council
A-well attended seminar held in the Town Hall in Bray last Saturday paid tribute to the prominent role played by trade union and labour activists in the town over the past 100 years.
The seminar was held as part of the centenary programme of the founding of the Bray and District Council of Trade Unions and coincided with the opening of the first Trades Hall by the Council at 45 Main Street on November 4, 1917.
Cllr Pat Vance, Leas Cathaorleach of Bray Municipal District, opened the event and welcomed the visitors to the town, as the seminar was held in conjunction with the Irish Labour History Society. Mr Vance paid tribute to the local trade union figures and recalled that he personally knew many who would be spoken about, including the late Paddy Cardiff (former General Secretary of the WUI) and his former neighbour Dan Shaw (ITGWU).
The theme of the seminar was 'By Common Council and Common Action' and was a celebration of the trade union and labour activists who lived and worked in the area. Prominent speakers included former Labour Minister Barry Desmond who spoke on Sean Dunne TD, and Jack O'Connor (President of SIPTU) who covered a range of local activists such as Christy Brien, Davy Sayers, Tom Sutton, Nancy Keogh, Brian McMahon, Hedley Wright and Joe Byrne.
Prominent Labour historians spoke on other local trade union and labour figures such as Joe Metcalfe (one of the founding members of the ITGWU and also the council), Jim Larkin Jnr, Paddy Cardiff, and Louie Bennett who all lived in the area.
Michele Connolly spoke about her late father Ross Connolly and Emmet Connolly gave a paper on his father Pearse and uncle Bernard - two well-known trade unionists. John Kenna spoke about former Labour councillor John Byrne and his father and grandfather Edward, who was one of the founders of the council. Other speakers included Derek Casserly who spoke on Seamus Costello's active role on the Council of Trade Unions; Colm Kinsella who profiled Stephen Mulvey; and Seamus Scally (former General Secretary of the Labour Party) who spoke on Roddy Connolly.