Irish Transport & General Workers' Union
CARLOW TRADERS
 

Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Carlow Branch

Irish Transport & General Workers' Union

Source: Carlow Past & Present. Vol. 1. No. 3. 1990 pages 65 – 72.


Labour Organising in a County Town

By Paddy Bergin

Part 2

 Norton was an excellent Deputy as far as Labour in Carlow was concerned. He attended at Branch and public meetings whenever requested. He was a great orator and his advent gave a fillip to the Party which it badly needed. Carlow is the biggest town in the Constituency of Carlow/Kildare, only the second biggest in Carlow/Kilkenny.

In 1932 Fianna Fail had come to power as a Government supported by Labour, and as they had vigorously opposed the setting up of the Sugar Industry there were fears that Carlow's major industry would be closed. Instead, however, Mr. De Valera pointed out that their opposition was based on the fact that one sugar factory was un-economic, so he proceeded to build three more, in Thurles, Tuam and Mallow. On this occasion there was no need for foreign workers to be brought in as Carlow men had become sufficiently skilled to train the workers in the new factories.

To go back to the Trade Union side of things and with particular reference to the I.E.I.E.U. a scheme was inaugurated by the Carlow Vocational Education Committee. When nine boys were taken at the sugar factory to learn the trade of sugar cooking. This trade had been carried on exclusively by Europeans from the start of the Industry. Some were employed permanently in the factory working at other trades during the non-manufacturing season. Sugar Cooking consists of boiling the juices that come from the sugar beet until sufficient water has been evaporated to give a supersaturated solution, when it is possible to extract crystals from the juices. These crystals are grown in the mother liquor until they become the grains with which we are all familiar. It was a business requiring a deal of experience and of course no matter how long they remained in Ireland, the European cooks could never learn the English words well enough to explain the process.

However, the new apprentices had joined the Union, mainly to ensure that they would be recognised as tradesmen when their apprenticeship was completed. After some years those boys recognised their voting strength in the Branch, where as apprentices, they could vote on all issues except strikes. Because of a Company scheme under which they were sent to Ringsend Technical School for full-time courses in their secondary trades, the apprentices from all factories got to know one another well and great bonds of friendship and loyalty were forged. Before the apprenticeships were finished the sugar cooks dominated the I.E.I.E.U. in Carlow. Tuam and Thurles and were a considerable force in the factory in Mallow.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 the Company collected its dividend on the money invested in the training schemes, when it became impossible to recruit sugar cooks outside Ireland. But for the Irish trained operatives, the Industry would have been brought to a standstill. As a matter of interest some of the young cooks joined the army on the declaration of the emergency but were quickly discharged as being of vital necessity to the Company.

When the Local Defence Force was formed in 1940, the first companies were based on local industries. There was a sugar factory company, a boot-factory company and a company from Thompsons. In the Sugar Factory Company, the O.C. was Jimmy Rice, the one-time Irregular Column leader with second-in-command Ned Hutton, a one time Free State Army Sergeant. This situation of armed workers marching under officers of their own choosing, seemed to have marvellous revolutionary potential and was backed with enthusiasm by the Carlow Branch of the I.E.I.E.U. This must not have passed unnoticed. First there was a directive from the Sugar Company that their Factory Company should be disbanded because their workers were vital to the economy. This instruction was rejected by the workers, who refused to resign from the L.D.F. The structure of the command of the force was then altered and control was taken out of the workers' hands and officers from the Army took overall control. At this stage the members of the I.E.I.E.U. withdrew from the armed sections but answered the call to set up a Field Ambulance Company in the Carlow District of the force. About 70% of the branch joined this Company.

Jack O'Carroll, Bertie Bishop, Paddy Bergin.

 I, as chairman of the Union Branch became O.C. of the Field Ambulance Company. The second-in-command was local Health Officer a man named Terry Moran, a socialist who had learned his politics during a spell working in factories in England. The adjutant was naturally enough Jack O'Carroll who was the secretary of the Union Branch. All the N.C.O.'S were members of the branch as were almost all of the members. I was eventually promoted to staff medical officer in the District responsible for organizing Field Ambulance services in the counties of Carlow and Leix. I was the only non-medical man in the country to hold such a post. The experience of training together, especially on the training periods spent during the summer camps in Tramore, created among the men a camaraderie and a loyalty which was of immense importance in the difficult industrial struggles that came along both during the war and immediately afterwards. Apart from this aspect of the matter all the members of the unit were encouraged to give lectures on First Aid themselves. Instead of being merely taught they were trained to be teachers themselves. Thus as time passed a closely knit articulate body of militant trade unionists emerged. We all learned a great deal about Field Ambulance work, First Aid and Hygiene, but we learned a great deal else as well. When the war ended and the force was facing disbandment we spent our lecture times not on First Aid but on learning elementary economics. We even had lectures on Dialectical Materialism from Derry Kelleher a well-known member of the Communist Party at that time.

During all this time and in spite of the emergency situation trade union and political affairs carried on. In 1941 there was considerable agitation for two weeks holidays. This agitation was spearheaded by the Laundry Workers, members of the Irish Women Workers Union, who went on strike to enforce their demands. The Carlow Branch of the I.E.I.E.U. organized a demonstration to show support for the Laundry Workers and instructed the head office of the Union to support the strikers with as much financial aid as possible.

Mr. McEntee was Minister for Industry and Commerce at that time and he introduced the infamous Emergency order 83. This order made it illegal for an employer to give any increase in wages to his employees. If a trade union took strike action against an employer to enforce a wages claim it would be held to be conspiring to force the employer to break the law. In such an event the money held by the Government as a negotiating fee, that is 1000 pounds per 1000 members, would be forfeited. This Negotiation Licence had been made compulsory under the Trade Union Act of 1941, in spite of opposition from the Labour Party and all the Trade Unions except the Irish Transport. Opposition to the wages stand still order was largely ineffective, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions leading whatever opposition there was.

In that same year of 1941 a conciliation board for the Sugar Industry was set up and was composed of Company representatives and union representatives, and presided over by Judge Shannon. This was a follow on from the Corporate State thinking. Strife was to be avoided at all cost and instead a community of interests was to be established. By 1943 the power of the Unions seemed to be fairly shackled. The sugar cooks in the four Sugar factories devised a means of dodging the regulations. They insisted that under the terms of their original contract of employment they were entitled to the same rate of pay as the most highly-paid tradesmen in the industry, namely the sugar cooks who were or had been brought over from Europe. The Company refused to concede to this demand. The young Irish cooks then informed the Company that they were fed up working and intended to leave the firm's employment. They stressed that they were not going on strike; they placed no pickets and had no support from their union. They then went home. The immediate reaction from their union was to send telegrams to all the papers condemning the strike and the strikers and disclaiming any responsibility for either. The sugar which had been manufactured the previous year was almost exhausted, no sugar could be imported because of the war and a serious sugar shortage began. All the usual stories started to circulate. The cooks were communists, who wanted to bring down society as it then was; they were under the control of foreign interests who wanted Ireland destroyed, etc. The press carried on a virulent campaign. "Quidnunc" in the Irish Times being particularly vindictive. The Catholic Standard was far less Christian than might be expected, and Seamus O'Farrell, a one time organiser of the Labour Party and later secretary of the National Labour Party was very bitter indeed. I should mention that almost immediately after the start of the strike and on the instruction of the head office of the Union all sugar cooks who held any positions in the sugar factory branches were dismissed from these positions. As the sugar shortage worsened the danger of further mass dismissals grew because there would no raw material for jam making, or for sweet making, or for brewing etc. I was the Chairman of the Sugar Cooks Committee and I was summoned to the Department of Industry and Commerce, where I was informed that I could get ten years in jail for conspiring against property. I pointed out that if myself and my colleagues were imprisoned for ten years then it would be that length of time or the end of the war before sugar again became available and I, with my companions were literally thrown out of the Department.

Two incidents on that same day compensated for our harsh treatment at the hands of the Department officials. The first concerned a porter at the National Library. While wandering aimlessly along Kildare St. and as none of us had ever been inside the building we decided to call in and see what sort of a place this Library was. For some reason the porter did not seem to be anxious to let us pass him. He asked what our business inside was and when we explained that we merely wanted to see what sort of a place it was, he explained that it was not a place for looking at but was a place for serious reading and study, and that if at any time there was any book or document we wanted to read then we would be quite welcome. He of course had no idea who we were, so when having accepted his reason for not admitting us I said to him "When are you people going to get rid of that awful statue of Queen Victoria from in front of Leinster House?" He replied with some vehemence "As far as I am concerned she can stay there as long as she likes. What she did was a long time ago. The shower that are inside of Leinster House right now are worse than ever she was. It was not Victoria who passed the Trade Union Act or imposed the wages Stand Still Order, but these lads in the Sugar Factories have them by the short hairs and I hope they don't give in until they get everything they are looking for. If there were more like them we might have a much better country." We went on our way greatly heartened and later on got to a cafe and went for a meal. There was no sugar for the tea and when one of my companions said to the waitress "I suppose this is because of those Communist Sugar Cooks", she rounded on him and said that as he was quite obviously a worker he should be ashamed of himself, that the Sugar Cooks were fighting for all the workers and that to go without sugar for a while was a very small sacrifice to make in their support.

Victory

The whole thing lasted only three weeks and eventually we suggested that we would return to work if our case could be submitted to Judge Shannon for arbitration and that our case be made by me and that no Trade Union Official be involved. This was agreed and the case was heard early in 1944. At the end of the hearing the Judge awarded that the cooks were entitled to 100% of their claim, that the company had dealt with them in a disgraceful manner and had therefore been responsible for the strike and that because of this they would have to pay half of the wages lost by those workers who had been locked out at the sugar factories because of the trouble. It was a complete vindication of the cooks, it breached order 83, but none of the Press ever reported any of this.

The victory gave a boost to Union morale and membership of the I.E.I.E.U. in Carlow increased rapidly. The firm of Thompsons in Carlow had never been organised even though it had been in existence since 1860. It employed about 100 men mostly highly skilled people. It was famous as a civil and mechanical engineering firm. During the First World War it had manufactured the wings for the British Air Forces famous Bristol Fighter Planes. In the Second World War Thompsons manufactured the armoured cars for the Irish Army and the canal barges which they used to carry turf from the bogs of Ireland to Dublin. They later built the immense machines which harvest the peat for our turf-burning electricity stations. In 1946 the job was organised into the Carlow branch of the I.E.I.E.U. Almost immediately a strike took place over a trivial issue. Even so it was hard fought and showed that although it took almost a century to get them into a union, once in they made staunch Trade Unionists.

In 1943 a new industry had come to Carlow, a razor blade factory. It employed mainly women, about fifty of them. In 1945 these girls complained that they were being badly treated by the foreman, a German.

The girls came to me with their complaint, and I got in touch with the Irish Women’s Workers Union. They sent Miss Chevenix to Carlow and a Carlow Branch of that Union was established, to look after the girls. Governeys Boot Factory had been organised by the Boot and Shoe Operatives Union and I had succeeded in organising all the Mental Hospital Workers into the Workers Union of Ireland. There was no industry in the town which was not in its appropriate organisation.

Unfortunately this progress was affected by the troubles in the wider field of Irish Labour. A massive break away from the Irish Trade Union Congress had occurred. This was led by the Irish Transport Union and supported by the majority of the Irish based unions, including the Irish Engineering Industrial and Electrical Union. At a special delegate conference of that Union, held to consider the matter of disaffiliation from Congress, the Carlow Branch delegates were alone in supporting continued affiliation to the T.U.C. The disaffiliated unions proceeded to set up a congress of their own which was called The Congress of Irish Trade Unions. The new body held its first delegate conference in Waterford in 1946 where it was proposed that a new Labour Party be also set up. The first idea was that the new Party should be part of the new Congress and be controlled and run by congress in the same way as the original Irish Labour Party and Trade Union Conference had been. By a fortunate quirk of fate the rules of my Union stipulated that the Member of the National Executive who lived nearest to the venue of such conferences should be one of the delegates to the Conferences. I lived in Carlow and the Conference being in Waterford I was an automatic delegate. Both the General Secretary and the President of the Union were annoyed but there was nothing they could do about it. I argued passionately against the setting up of the Party and helped defeat the motion at Congress. However, that victory was short-lived as the rival party was set up shortly afterwards and was called The National Labour Party. All the Irish Transport Union Dail Deputies, with the exception of Richard Corish of Wexford, Brendan Corish's father, joined the new organisation. It was a crippling blow for the Irish Labour Party, as at one stroke, it lost the affiliation fees from unions which left and as it was no longer the second largest part in opposition in the Dail it lost its Parliamentary allowance which had formerly paid the wages of the Head Office Staff. It must never be forgotten of Billy Norton, that he held the Party together at the time and held it together until the time came again for unity.

When the Federated Union of Rural Workers was founded the inaugural meeting was held in the Four Provinces Hall which was then owned by the Bakers Union. Delegates attended from all over [he country, though the Leinster Counties were better represented than elsewhere. The meeting was held on St. Patricks Day so that the delegates might avail of the excursion trains, being run for the final of the G.A.A. Provincial Championship. Old Jim Larkin attended and in a most moving speech gave the new organisation his blessing. He withdrew immediately afterwards and the business continued under the guidance of Sean Dunne who had not yet become a deputy. Two delegates attended from Carlow and I was one of them.

The new Union was a peculiar organisation. Each county was to have its own autonomous Branch, all Branches being federated for the purpose of using the Negotiating Licence, made necessary by the recently passed Trade Union Act. A further peculiarity was that persons from other Unions could hold Honorary positions in the Federation's Branches until such time as the Farm Workers and Road Workers gained enough experience to manage their affairs themselves.

I was appointed Chairman of the Co. Carlow Branch of the new Union and set about the work of organising the Rural Workers. I managed fairly well at the beginning. Carlow Town is hedged around with large estates and most of those became organised but in the small farms the difficulty of collecting dues was great. It became apparent that the main strength of the Union would be the road workers, whose monies could be collected by the gangers. In Kildare progress was much better and in the south of that County a man named Joe Green was the leading figure. Joe came from Castledermot. He was a life long member of the Labour Party, a member of the Kildare Co. Council and a noted local comedian. His occupation was farm labourer.

An agitation for a weekly half-holiday on Saturdays, for farm workers was current in South Kildare. The farmers were bitterly opposed to this idea, maintaining that farming did not lend itself to such amenities, that, if men did not work on Saturdays stock would suffer and crops be damaged or destroyed. The workers devised a scheme, which, they held, would get over these difficulties, but this was rejected by the farmers. To prove that their scheme was practical the workers decided to take the half-day at their own expense. In other words they stayed home on Saturday afternoons and sacrificed half a days pay.

This situation continued for three weeks without any suffering to stock or loss of crops, but the farmers issued an ultimatum, that any workers absenting himself on the following Saturday would be sacked. Most of the men did absent themselves and were sacked and the South Kildare strike, or rather lock out was on.

A public meeting had already been arranged, for that Saturday night, at which the workers case would be publicised and the workers themselves enthused for the campaign ahead. The main speaker was to be Sean Dunne who was to be supported by Senator Michael Smith from Kildare. On the afternoon in question I got a telegram informing me that Sean could not attend and asking me to take his place. I arrived at the venue for the meeting somewhat before the starting time, to find that Senator Smith also found it impossible to be present, and that the meeting would have to be carried by Green and myself. Well we carried the meeting all right and we also carried the strike, for all its long duration but with the minimum support from outside.

There was a tremendous attendance at the meeting. The workers were enthusiastic, and full of spirit, of one sort or another, it being Saturday night. Immediately afterwards a committee was set up, and Joe Green was appointed Secretary. Pickets were arranged and detailed for duty and all the mundane matters essential to carrying out the strike were attended to. We were fortunate that the farmers in that part of Kildare are mainly owners of large farms. The Jacksons, Greens, Copes and Wrights between them own quite a large slice of South Kildare. They were all growers of large acreages of beet. At the time the job of lifting beet was very labour intensive and we believed the employers would have to give in, in order to harvest the crop. Our greatest weakness was a shortage of money to pay strike pay as the funds available to us were those of the Kildare Branch only. If the farmers could leave the beet in the ground, until our money ran out, we were done. However, ripe beet left in the ground loses sugar content, which reduces its value. Every day the strike lasted the farmers lost money, every day it lasted our funds grew less. We tried to ease our situation by collecting money from the strikers. The response was generous, especially from the factories in Carlow and the Miners in Castlecomer. The farmers were not idle either and soon Young Farmers Clubs were organising groups of their members, to pass our pickets and pull the beet. This practice led to some exciting times. When word would come that a group had arrived for beet pulling, a strong band of workers would be organised, to proceed to the affected farm, where they endeavoured to drive out the scabs with any available weapons, the old ash plant being a favourite item. Such a situation could not continue and as at that time the law books were filled with laws protecting property and no law at all protecting jobs, the Guards were soon around the fields protecting the Young Farmers. To attack scabs was one thing, to attack the Police was a different proposition altogether. We changed our tactics and searched out the strike breakers away from their work, where we reasoned with them with big sticks. One famous fracas in Baltinglass led to Joe Green and myself being fined five pounds each or a week in jail. The fine was paid by Ben Farrell a Baltinglass publican and a Wicklow Co. Councillor, who later became the centre of the famous Baltinglass Post Office transfer row.

One further weapon we had, a drastic one. At a meeting of the Carlow Branch of the I.E.I.E.U., I proposed that the sugar factory workers should refuse to handle all beet pulled by the Young Farmers. Although I argued with all the power I had and although there was a considerable volume of support, I could not get the resolution carried. It seemed as if all was lost. Then, early one morning, shortly afterwards, Sean Dunne and John Smithers, then President of the Workers Union of Ireland arrived at my home. I had worked for twelve hours the previous night and was not at all pleased to see Sean, who, I believed had not paid sufficient attention to the Kildare Strike. However they had an interesting story to tell and one that again brought a ray of hope that the strike might still be won. Sean Dunne explained that he had a visit from Major General Costello, then Managing Director of the Sugar Company, during which the Major had stressed that his sympathies lay with the farm workers on strike in Kildare and that if the Sugar Company could get, even a threat of strike action, from the factory workers, he, as managing director, would refuse to take in scab pulled beet. The factories would of course continue to run, using beet from farms not affected by the strike, thus ensuring that only the South Kildare Farmers would suffer. I pointed out that I had already tried to create that situation and had failed. Dunne stressed that Costello was so much in sympathy with the farm workers that all he needed was a threat of strike and that no strike would take place. He suggested that all that was necessary was a letter from me, on Union paper, pointing out the likelihood of the skilled workers in the factory taking strike action. He was very persuasive, and the prospect was tempting. I as Chairman of the Branch had no official paper, and I felt that before doing any­thing I should at least consult the Branch Secretary. This was a cautious young Cork man named Jack O'Carroll. Sean Dunne and I were driven to his house and he also was persuaded that the chance was worth taking, because of the plight of the Farm Workers. Jack wrote the letter saying that the men in the factory would strike against scab beet and I also signed it as chairman of the Branch. We gave the letter to Dunne and that was the last we heard about it for the rest of the strike. With the beet lifted the strike began to fizzle out as hunger and hardship drove the men back to work. Some of them got their old jobs back, others did not and for them the situation was indeed disastrous.

Denial

I might mention here that some time after the end of the Farm Workers' strike, Major Costello, sent the letter which Jack Carroll and I had given to Sean Dunne, threatening strike action, to the Executive of our union. This was to point out to them how irresponsible we were and suggesting that we were not fit persons to hold positions in the union. This did not do us much good in the Union but it did not "do as much hard as the General hoped.

John Smithers and myself explained how we had been persuaded to send the letter. Although this was denied we were believed and as I already stated the damage was not as great as was intended.

To realise how disastrous was the position of the workers who did not get back their jobs at the end of the strike, one has to remember that it took place during what was called "The Emergency".

Reception for workers following the completion of Irish Sugar Co. Offices, Strawhall. Left to Right: Bill Egerton, Graiguecullen; Paddy Kavanagh, Tinryland; Jim Burke, McGamhna Road; Bob McGrath, Bagenalstown; Paddy Foley, John St.; Paddy Timmons, Henry St.; — Geoghegan, Staplestown Road; Margo Lombard, Montgomery St. (Sec.); Louie Carr, St. Killian's Crescent; Mick Heary, Burrin St.; Jack O'Neill, Graiguecullen; Mick Dempsey, Buller Moore, Pollerton; Tom Whitney, St. Fiacc's; Christy O'Brien, Quinagh; Tommy Burke (C. 1950).

 This was the period of the Second World War. Under the Emergency Regulations, one could not leave the country without obtaining a "Travel Permit" or Visa from the Irish Government. There was plenty of work in England where high wages could be earned, provided one was prepared to risk the intensive bombing raids by the Germans. There was high unemployment in Ireland, so there was not much difficulty for urban workers in getting the necessary Visa. Agricultural workers and Turf workers were, however, held to be essential to Ireland, and so found it extremely difficult to get the necessary papers to emigrate. This then was the situation of many of my friends in South Kildare, no work at home and no hope of leaving home to go where the work was. One way out remained. There was no Visa necessary to join the British army. All one had to do was get on the train, go to Pettigo on the Northern Ireland border and join up and this of course is what many of them did.

Before leaving this matter of the Travel Permits, I should point out that it was not merely bog and farm workers who were barred from emigrating to Britain. This ban also applied to all those persons who were held by the Irish Government to be "Subversive". In other words all those who had been political prisoners or who had been interned were similarly barred. In Carlow we had an interesting experience with a Doctor of Science, the Cork man Derry Kelleher I mentioned before. He had been interned as an I.R.A. man and he could not get a job in Ireland, largely because then as now, such persons are barred from employment in the Public Services. For the same reason he could not emigrate to England. His was a sad situation but while he was with us in Carlow we devised a way to circumvent the regulations, and off he went to England where he found work in his profession. He later travelled to Trinidad and while there wrote a book on Sugar Technology. He is back in Ireland this many a year and is now a prominent member of the Labour Party having been for a period on the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Fein (The Workers Party).

Before leaving the Kildare Strike there are two incidents I would like to record. One concerns a man called Jim Loughman who came from The Lone Bush, near Kilkea Castle near Castledermot. Jim was a road worker with the Kildare County Council and so was not directly involved in the strike. He was a member of the union from it's inception and life­long member of the Labour Party. One day coming near the end of the strike he asked me what were the prospects of success. I told him quite honestly what the situation was and explained about our shortage of cash. The next day he called again to see me and handed me fifteen pounds. I was astounded and asked him from where on earth he had got the money. He had told me he had sold his winter supply of turf and his winter supply of hay for his pony, and warned me not under any circumstances to tell Joe Green or any of the strikers. He is dead now so it does not matter. While he lived he was best known as a traditional fiddler who attended all the Fleadhs and often performed on Radio. I have never met a more dedicated Trade Unionist and I am proud to have known him.

The second incident concerns Joe Green, who had become a whole-time official of the Federated Union as secretary to the Kildare Branch. Sometime after the end of the strike he received a wire from the Union Head Office informing him that since there was very little money remaining in the Branch funds it had been decided to terminate his employment, and that he was as from receipt of the telegram, no longer an employee of the Union. This was about a week before Christmas and as Joe was married and had a family, his position can well be imagined. He rushed down to the village to Doyle's pub, where there was a phone, and tried to get through to the Union Headquarters. The phone service then was nearly as bad as it is now, so poor Joe had to wait for a free line. While waiting, the Publican started advising Joe that he should give up all that old Union business and get himself a job where he would be free from trouble and not be making enemies of his neighbours. It must have been hard on Green but he pointed out quite reasonably that because of his actions in leading the strike the farmers were not likely to give him work while as a member of the Kildare County Council he could not work as a road worker. Where else said Joe could he get a job. Then like a voice from heaven the Publican said that because of his connections throughout the county and especially in the Castledermot area, he would make an excellent Bar Man, and added "There is a job here for you right this minute or whenever you decide to see reason and come and take it". Salvation for Joe but he was too loyal to say what his position was, asked for just a little time to consider the matter, went to another phone where he told the Union Exec., what they could do with their job, came back to the Publican, started work and remained there, gradually coming back to his old carefree self until he died. Not only Capitalist bosses can be unfeeling and brutal. It is an incident on which I do not like to dwell.

 Paddy Bergin.

At the Round Bush in South Kildare
In rain or hail or sleet
The men on strike assembled there
They had no where else to meet
Jim Loughman from Mageney's dead:
but his spirit's here to-day
To help the strikers in distress
Jim Loughman sold his hay
And Paddy Bergin penned a note;
The contents I'll repeat;
The Carlow Sugar Factory
Should not handle Tainted Beet.
P. Murphy.

Source: Source: Carlow Past & Present. Vol. 1. No. 3. 1990 pages 65 – 72.


Had a great chat with Joe Mcdonald (back row on the right) last night, Gouleyduff Meggars Club annual night in Purcells bar Athy, knew him through both Meggars and when I worked in Armer Sammon in the late 1960s.


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