Wednesday 17 January 2018

Tributes pour in for former RTE stalwart Pat Sweeney

Grainne Cunningham

TRIBUTES from both sides of the industrial relations divide were paid last night to the former RTE labour affairs correspondent Pat Sweeney.

For almost two decades, Mr Sweeney, who died yesterday morning after a long illness, was the public face of industrial strife as he reported on one of the most difficult periods of strikes and industrial unrest in the state's history.

Mr Sweeney, who was 73, is survived by his daughter Marie, sons Shane and Conor, sister Mary, brothers Jim and Ned, and three grandchildren. As industrial correspondent and later industrial editor in RTE during the 1970s and 1980s, he earned respect for the precision of his coverage and commentary and won several awards for his work.

ICTU general secretary David Begg described Mr Sweeney as a "consummate professional".

After leaving RTE in the early 1990s, Mr Sweeney worked as communications officer for the employers' group IBEC.

Former IBEC director general Turlough O'Sullivan said Mr Sweeney had "extraordinary wisdom and a deep insight into the whole business of industrial relations". He also said he displayed great discretion in covering disputes and was always careful not to unnecessarily inflame the situation.

Before working at RTE, Mr Sweeney worked for the 'Kilkenny People' newspaper and was also labour affairs correspondent for the 'Evening Herald'.

Mr Sweeney's wife, Monica, died six years ago. One of their sons, Dermot, died only six weeks ago.

A former editor of the 'Kilkenny People', Sean Hurley, said he had immaculate shorthand and was unique in being able to come out of a meeting he was covering and do a live report for television on his shorthand notes only.

Irish Independent

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