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Sunday 18 November 2018

Trade union council unveils railway plaque

Maura Donnelly, former president; George Sheehan, council president; John Byrne and John O’Brien, honorary life members of the council; Derek Casserly, SIPTU; and Jack O’Connor, former SIPTU president
Maura Donnelly, former president; George Sheehan, council president; John Byrne and John O’Brien, honorary life members of the council; Derek Casserly, SIPTU; and Jack O’Connor, former SIPTU president

Mary Fogarty

A plaque dedicated to railway workers was unveiled by the local Council of Trade Unions at Bray rail station last weekend.

The plaque commemorates the leading role played by the rail unions in the founding of the 'Bray and Kingstown Trades and Labour Council' in April 1917. Unveiling the plaque, Council of Trade Unions President George Sheehan spoke of the long and close ties between rail workers and the Council over the past 100 years.

He said that the first president in 1917 was Ben Lindop, a native of Crewe in Cheshire, and the first treasurer was Edward Byrne, a trade union and Labour stalwart in Bray and county Wicklow, both of whom were members of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR).

Other NUR railwaymen that were active in the early years included; James Murphy (secretary in 1919/1920 and president in 1924/25 and again in 1927/28), and William Moore (president in 1926/27), David Greer (1932) and George Doyle (1940).

Another rail union active on the Council in the early years was ASLEF and Thomas Nolan was president from 1947 to 1952. Joseph Everard, grandfather of the current station manager in Bray also named Joe, was active with ASLEF and was council secretary in 1951.

Mr Sheehan also pointed out that the association continues up to the present day with many delegates having strong links with the railway either directly or through family. Dr Peter Rigney gave a talk on 'Railway Workers in Ireland Post World War 1' in the SIPTU offices on the seafront.

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