New ICTU General Secretary Owen Reidy has strong Derry and Inishowen connections
The new General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU). Owen Reidy, has strong Inishowen and Derry connections.
The father-of-two and a native of Donegal has 24 years full-time experience in the Irish trade union movement.
One of the first to congratulate him was Moville-based Donegal County Councillor Martin Farren, who outlined how Mr Reidy is the son of Brian Reidy, who served as manager in AIB banks in Dunfanaghy, Raphoe and Moville.
"His late mother, Patricia, taught in primary schools in Derry whilst Brian was working in Moville. Whilst living in Greencastle, Owen was educated in Carndonagh Community School. He later went on to UCD where he studied history and politics. He started his career as a union official in SIPTU in the West of Ireland organising workers in the
aviation, insurance, and finance, non-commercial semi-states, and cleaning and security sectors. He was appointed one of SIPTU’s five Divisional Organisers, in 2013, when he managed and ran the union’s Transport, Energy, Aviation and Construction Division
The Labour Councillor continued: “In 2016 Owen took up the position of Assistant General Secretary of the ICTU with primary responsibility for the Congress in Northern Ireland. He has coordinated the work and voice of the trade union movement in NI in response to Brexit, political stalemate, and the current cost of living crisis. He has spoken frequently on behalf of the estimated 20,000 people who commute daily between the Republic and Northern Ireland and has emphasised the need to maintain the free movement of people on the island and ensure their barriers are not placed in the way of workers commuting to work or for any other reason between the two jurisdictions.
Colr Farren told how Mr Reidy has strong family links to Labour and the Trade Union movement. His grandfather, Stephen McGonagle, was a trade union official, for the Irish Transport & General Workers Union (ITGWU), based in Derry but serving Derry & Donegal.
“Stephen was deeply involved in the formation of the NI Labour Party, in Derry. He was elected President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and, in later life, was Ombudsman in Northern Ireland, Senator in Seanad Éireann and a Labour Party nominee to the New Ireland Forum.
“Owen’s personal experiences growing up in a cross-border community will serve us well in the upcoming Brexit negotiations and his commitment to those workers not organised in trade unions as low paid workers such as care workers and other Community & Voluntary workers for recognition of their work and for equal pay for equal services. I wish him every success in his new job,” said Farren.
Commenting on his appointment Reidy said, “I am delighted and humbled to be selected for this important leadership role in our trade union movement. I think we have the potential to rebuild and grow our movement and reach out to workers currently not organised in trade unions. We need to make work pay for all and build a more inclusive economy and society.”