Constituency Office Opening With Party Leader Eamon GIlmore
Posted by Alan Kelly on December 13, 2009 at 09:03 PM
On Friday last, I was joined by the Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, at the official opening of my new constituency office in Nenagh. The new Labour office, situated on the corner of Dublin road and Summerhill, was attended by a couple of hundred Labour supporters from all over North Tipperary. The opening was then followed by a reception at Dowlings pub where presentations were made.
Speaking on the night, I said, “I am honoured to welcome Eamon Gilmore to Nenagh for this event. The new office is part of my ongoing commitment to the people of North Tipperary whose support I truly appreciate. My dedication to the Labour Party and my constituents is unwavering and I look forward to the coming year in our new premises.”
Presentations were made to brothers Frank and Ger Lewis. The Lewis brothers have been constantly active in the field of protecting workers for many generations and are stalwarts of the Labour party. “Frank and Ger Lewis have made the Labour party what is today. They have paved the way for me in politics and when I was starting out in my career, their advice and guidance was invaluable to me.”
Frank started work in the Aluminium Factory and helped to establish and organise the Transport Union there. After becoming Branch Secretary, he continued his progression and became the District Secretary of the Co. Tipperary section of the ITGWU in 1952. He retired as District Secretary in 1987. Ger took over as Branch Secretary that year and retired in 1993.
Frank was elected to the County Council twice, first in 1974 and again in 1979. He chaired the council in 1977/78 and again in 1984/85 and was recognised as a man of competence and integrity.
Ger Lewis was elected to the Nenagh Urban District Council in 1960. It was a lengthy council, lasting seven years. He spent 25 years with CIE in various locations around the country and came back to Nenagh in 1977 to take the role of branch official in the ITGWU. He became branch secretary in 1987 and retired in 1993. Ger held officerships in both Nenagh and Birr branches and North Tipperary officerships. He also held the chair in Nenagh UDC, North Tipperary VEC and LIT. He was the first Chairman of the North Tipperary Enterprise Board and Thurles RTC and now chairs the Thurles Institute. He also held the position of Senior Vice President of the IVEA.
Eamon Gilmore spoke glowingly of both Frank and Ger whom he worked with in the ITGWU during the 1980’s. He said, “When I started out they were always there for me with advice and support. I cannot speak highly enough of them and I’m delighted to be here tonight when their local organisation honours their outstanding contribution to trade union activism and politics.”
At the reception, I said, “I spend a considerable amount of my time travelling to and from Brussels and the time I spend away has always given me a deep appreciation of my family, friends and supporters at home. I never take for granted the time and efforts you all have put in to supporting the Labour Party, your local communities and the many ways which you have helped me get to where I am today.”
Eamon Gilmore also paid tribute to Alan Kelly and the work he has done in the past few months as MEP. “In these difficult economic times, we need strong leaders at the helm. This is precisely what Alan provides. He is what the Labour party is all about. I congratulate him on his new office opening and I’d like to wish him, his supporters and the great team in North Tipperary every success for the future.”