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Monday 19 November 2018

Mayor pays tribute to author of 'William Partridge and His Times'

Hugh Geraghtys recently published book, William Patrick Partridge and his Times (1874 1917) has provided us with not only an insight into the life and work of William Partridge but also provides us with a glimpse of the social conditions which prevailed as Ireland entered the 20th century, said Alderman Declan Bree, Mayor of Sligo, when he hosted a civi

Hugh Geraghty’s recently published book, ‘William Patrick Partridge and his Times (1874 – 1917)’ has provided us with not only an insight into the life and work of William Partridge but also provides us with a glimpse of the social conditions which prevailed as Ireland entered the 20th century, said Alderman Declan Bree, Mayor of Sligo, when he hosted a civic reception for Mr Geraghty in Sligo City Hall this week

"In the official histories of 20th century Ireland William Partridge’s life and work play little or no part. Like many of his comrades this man of the people who sacrificed so much has been largely ignored by the establishment."

"The fact that Partridge was born in Sligo and went on to become a Labour councillor in Dublin, and participated in the rising as a member of the Irish Citizen Army, always intrigued me." said the Mayor

"However, finding additional information on Partridge over the years was most difficult and it was not until I read Hugh Geraghty’s book that I had the opportunity of discovering so much about the life and times of this important pioneer of the Irish labour movement."

"We learn from Hugh Geraghty’s book that William Partridge resided only a short time in Sligo. His father was an English native who took up employment as a train driver with the Midland and Great Western Railway. Marrying an Irish woman, the couple moved to Sligo in 1867 where their first address was at West Gardens – a stones throw from my own home."

"We learn that William Partridge was born in Sligo in March 1874 and the family then lived at 6, Chapel Street. It is an interesting coincident that the present Secretary of the Sligo Council of Trade Unions, Mr Joe McDonagh and his wife Patsy, who are with us this evening, currently live at No. 6 Chapel Street." said the Mayor.

"When William’s father was transferred by the railway company to Ballaghaderreen his family soon followed and William was raised in that town, and it was not until he reached the age of 17 that William returned to Sligo to commence his apprenticeship as a mechanical fitter with the Midland and Great Western Railway Company."

"It was Sligo’s misfortune that after only a year, William was transferred to the railways workshops at Broadstone in Dublin and it was during his period there that he first became involved with the trade union movement."

"Within a short period of arriving in Dublin William Partridge was playing a significant role in the struggle for social change. Along with Larkin and Connolly he playing a leading role in the development of the Dublin trade union movement and was prominent in the Dublin 1913 Lockout. He became a Labour councillor on Dublin City Council. He was a member of the first Provisional Council of the Irish Citizen Army along with Larkin, P.T. Daly, Thomas Foran and Sean O’Casey and he proudly wore the Citizen Army uniform when he joined his comrades to take on the might of the British Empire in Easter 1916." the Mayor said.

"When he was eventually released from prison by the British in April 1917 his health had seriously deteriorated and 12 weeks after his release this hero and pioneer of the Irish Labour movement died at the age of 43."

"He was buried in Ballaghaderreen where his funeral procession, described as the biggest ever seen in the town, included a contingent of the Citizen Army along with leaders of the labour and trade union movement including Constance Markievicz."

"Hugh Geraghty’s book is not written as a definitive history, but in essence covers one man’s role in a movement that challenged the right of employers and property owners to condemn a class of people to poverty and squalor."

"We are indebted to Hugh Geraghty. Over many years, and with great patience and from scarce and scattered records he has meticulously reconstructed the life and times of a working class hero, William Partridge." the Mayor concluded.

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