Updated, March 1999


This aim of this page is to give you some idea of our work and to provide you with LINKS in Sligo and Ireland with items of  interest to trade unionists. We hope that you find this site useful.

    John Comiskey, Chairperson.  Joe McDonagh Hon. Secretary.


The Sligo Council of Trade Unions (SCTU) held their first meeting in 1890 chaired by Patrick J. Farrell (Bakers Union). It was a successor of an earlier "Union" started in 1883 from among the "Artisans Society", an organisation of unknown origins. Records of the Sligo branch of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners are dated to 1871 and memorabilia of the trade union participation in the O'Connell centenary celebrations of 1875 are in the Sligo Museum.

The Eight Annual IRISH TRADES UNION  CONGRESS. Held in The Town Hall Sligo.  May 27th, 28th and 29th, 1901. 75 Delegates in attendance. (Photo. Courtesy Mr. Thomas. Dykes)

Back row: P. McGowan P. HarteJohn Dykes, Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners. J. O'Connor,  W. Neary,  J. Clancy. Builders Labourers Benevolent Union.
Front row James Kivlehan,  F. Gallagher, (Hon. Sec.) Patrick .J. Farrell, (President Sligo Trades an Labour Council.) Operative Bakers Society.  H. Reilly, (Hon. Treasurer.) Amalgamated Society of House and Ship Painters. Society. William Costello, Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners.

Issues discussed at the Conference were: Fair Wages Resolution, technical education, night work in bake houses, direct labour on roads, improving women's wages, imports of food, nationalisation of railways, lands and mines, safety, and pensions.

The SCTU is a voluntary body. Membership is made up of approximately fifty delegates from local branches of national trade unions. The SCTU is affiliated to the Irish  Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and sends a delegate to its biennial conference.

Officers of the Council are elected annually. Representatives to other organisations, statutory bodies, ICTU advisory groups and other committees are appointed at the AGM or when the vacancy occurs. They include:

          Trade Union:





The local health authority is the North Western Health Board. It covers counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo. Representation is made up from various interests, Doctors, Nurses, Public Representatives, etc. There is no provision for a trade union representative.

The unions in line with ICTU policy are contesting this situation.


Affiliated with:


The Sligo Council of Trade Unions is not a political party. However, individual  members are involved in party politics and the SCTU maintains contact with local political representatives. Leaders of the  Government  and some of the opposition parties meet with SCTU representatives to hear issues of local interest. Irish political parties with public representatives in Sligo can be found at:


Without sufficient electoral support but with some organisation are Democratic Left, the Progressive Democrats and  The Green Party. Others with electoral support are:

The next Annual General Meeting of SCTU will be held in January 2000.

Culturally Sligo is associated with WB.Yeats and his poetry. An International Summer School is held each year. The town was founded in AD1245 and the county now has a population of 54,750. The county is rich in ancient archaeological sites and monuments, which date back to 3,500BC. Features include mountains, forests, lakes and sea. Access is by road, railway and  Sligo Regional Airport. Sligo Port was a major means of departure for emigrants in the 1800s.

Manufacturing employment is in: Healthcare Products, Toolmaking, Mouldmaking, Builders Hardware, Rubber Seals, Plastics, Meat Products, Veterinary Vaccines, Scales and Clocks, Injection Moulding, Concrete Products, Dairy Products, Precision Engineering, Bakery, Video Tapes, Printing,

Other employment is in Agriculture, Construction, Forestry, Education, Health, Local Government and Commerce.

Sligo is twinned with:

Unemployment in Sligo is 3,000+ persons.


The work of the SCTU is in giving support to workers in dispute and when unemployed, retired or disabled. It uses its influence for job creation, social justice, fair wages and conditions, safety in the workplace, protecting the environment and against the abuse of workers rights at home and in solidarity with workers in other countries.

Launch of Markievicz Project 1987 (Photo Mr. T. Dykes) 

 Jim McDonald (Chairman) Ian Duggan (V. Chairman) Mr. Ray McSharry TD. (Government Minister for Finance and later EU Commissioner) Ms. Catherine O'Donovan (Supervisor) Joe McDonagh (Hon Secretary) Peter Hennessy (Treasurer)

In 1987, the SCTU founded the Sligo based Markievicz Unemployed Centre. The Leitrim Resource Centre was set up in 1994 in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim and a further premise was established in Mohill, Co. Leitrim in 1997. A new outreach Centre was established in Carrick-on-Shannon in 1998. They are part of the ICTU  Network of Centres.

Sligo Recycling Ltd. was formed in 1997 with the objective of creating employment. With new premises supported by Sligo Corporation it is now expanding its operations with financial assistance from the Peace and Reconciliation Fund (£ 68,000). It recycles aluminium, paper, glass, clothing etc. The Company also delivers educational projects in environmental awareness.

The four projects employ between them  six full-time staff and fifty-two part-time staff.

The Sligo and Leitrim Centre's support the unemployed through training, education, sourcing employment, providing information and leisure activities. Discount schemes are provided with the support of commercial and sporting organisations. e.g.  Sligo Rovers Football Club. Management of the four projects is voluntary and unpaid. The Board is appointed by the SCTU and includes representatives from the workforce and outside interests. Funding and additional support is received from: ICTU, individual Trade Unions, F.A.S., Area Partnership, North Western  Health Board, Sligo  Corporation, Sligo  County CouncilPeace and Reconciliation,  INTERREG.  Community groups, business, church organisations, individuals, charities and the public.


Sligo is designated a "border county" and the Council of Trade Unions support the programme, 'Investing in PEACE. An Interim Programme for Reconstruction.' adopted by the Irish  Congress of Trade Unions.

Priorities identified are radical programmes on economic issues, community and social programmes and reforms in the administration of justice as essential elements in securing peace.

'Ending violence is only part, though an essential part, of the process of creating a new peaceful and stabilised society in  Northern Ireland  in which economic prosperity, full employment and equality of opportunity could become the norm.'

If you wish to send us messages or requests for information the Sligo Council of Trade Unions can be contacted at the Markievicz Centre, High Street, Sligo, Ireland, or Telephone 071-42925. Hon. Secretary  Joe McDonagh .

EXECUTIVE MEMBERS: Chair: John Comiskey, Manufacturing Science Finance (MSF). Hon Secretary: Joe McDonagh. Graphical, Paper and  Media Union. Treasurer: Veronica Cawley. (SIPTU)

The Markievicz Unemployed Centre can be contacted at the same address. Co-ordinator, Padraig Fintan Flannery has been appointed as outreach worked with supporting funding from Peace and Reconcilliation.

The Leitrim Resource Centre can be contacted at  Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. Co-ordinator Gerry Cornyn.

The Mohill Resource Centre can be contacted at Hyde Street, Mohill, Co. Leitrim. Co-ordinator Cara Mooney.

Sligo Recycle Ltd. can be contacted at Manager, Maurice Buckley.



This site was launched in October 1996 and is maintained by Jim McDonald, email