Wednesday 17 January 2018

Padraig was one of Sligo's best known trade unionists

THE death has occurred of one of Sligo's best known trade unionists.

Padraig Fowley, Jink's Avenue, passed away on Christmas Day. He was aged 82. Padraig was a loyal and hard working staff member at Brooks Hanley, Finisklin, for 38 years.

While in Hanley's he became a Shop Steward.

Padraig went on to become Chairperson of the Sligo branch of SIPTU.

He was nominated to the National Executive of the Union.

Padraig was very much inspired by his good friend and brother-in-law, the late Tommy Higgins, former Freeman of the Borough and another highly regarded trade union official.

Motivated by his concern and love for others, Padraig negotiated on behalf of workers for better and fairer conditions of employment and never feared in representing them.

In his Homily at the funeral Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception last Thursday, Canon Tom Hever, described Padraig Fowley as a man of deep faith-the rock on which he built his life.

He recalled that 62 years ago on St. Stephen's Day, Padraig had married the love of his life, Kathleen Gallagher.

They were blessed with a long and happy marriage and four children.

Canon Hever said Padraig loved his family and extended family.

He was a quiet, gentle man who enjoyed his few drinks and socialising with family and friends. He also loved sport, most especially soccer. Padraig was a great fan of Manchester United and his beloved Sligo Rovers.

He also had the distinction of managing a team which won the McArthur Cup.

Under his direction a St. Anne's team won the Connacht Cup and reached the quarter final of the FAI Cup.

However, it transpired that one of the team members-Padraig's late brother Eugene, was over-age, resulting in the team being expelled Padraig was also passionate about music. His grandson, Michael Kelly, delivered the eulogy and told the large congregation: "It is said that the true measure of a man is not by how many times he fall, but by how many times he picks himself back up."

Padraig Fowley was no stranger to adversity, which he first witnessed at the tender age of 9 at the passing of his own father, Jack.

As a young boy he had to take on the role of supporting his mother, Mary, and his siblings, which he did without fuss or complaint, or as he said himself "in his own tinpot way."

Michael said Padraig was a devoted husband to his wife, Kathleen.

They truly lived their wedding vows and looked out for and supported each other every day of their 62 years together.

Their loved remained true throughout all the adversity such a long life together brings-together they faced sickness, loss, financial and other worries.

Michael said his grandfather was a strong advocate of social justice and this was reflected by his work as a member of SIPTU.

He said: "He firmly believed in the principles of protecting those with little and providing a hand up to those who needed it."

Padraig is survived by his wife, Kathleen; daughters Ursula, Philo and Mary; son, John; sons-in-law; daughter-in-law; sister, Imelda (England); brothers-in-law; sistersin-law; nephews; nieces; 14 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; relatives and many friends and former colleagues.

He was predeceased by his brothers Eamon, Eugene, Kevin and Aidan.

Burial took place in Sligo Cemetery.

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