Press Release

SIPTU Meath District Council commemorates poet and trade unionist Francis Ledwidge

Date Released: 22 August 2017

The SIPTU Meath District Council commemorated the poet and trade unionist Francis Ledwidge by unveiling a new sign bearing his image outside the Dan Shaw Centre, Dan Shaw Road, Navan on Saturday, 19th August.

The unveiling ceremony was carried out by SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Gerry McCormack, and Joe Ledwidge, a nephew of Francis. It was followed by a lecture on Lewidge’s live and work by labour historian Francis Devine.
 
Meath District Council Chairman, Anton McCabe, said: “This new sign commemorates the centenary of the death of Francis Ledwidge during the battle of Passchendaele in 1917. However, SIPTU Meath District Council felt it was most appropriate to unveil the sign on the 19th August which was the date of his birthday in 1887, in Janeville, Slane.
 
“For us as trade unionists Ledwidge will never die, he will always live due to his work organising farm labourers and miners in order for them to achieve better conditions as well as for his achievements as a poet.”
 
McCormack, said: “Franics Ledwidge was a trade unionist and labour leader. There is a link between what he did in the past to what we do today. Every trade union activist from Ledwidge's time to now have played their part in improving the terms and conditions of workers in all industries throughout this country.”
 
Meath District Council Coordinator, John Regan, thanked Joe Ledwidge for unveiling the commemoration sign and expressed appreciation to Meath County Librarian, Ciaran Mangan, who presented a number of Ledwidge books to SIPTU.  These books will be retained in the SIPTU College library.
 
Ledwidge was ‘Killed in Action’ on 31st July 1917, the opening day of the battle of Passchendaele, in Flanders in Belgium. He had been a farm labourer, union organiser and member of the Irish Volunteers. Ledwidge had been elected secretary of the Slane Branch of the Meath Labour Union in 1913.
 
Already a published poet, he joined the British Army to fight in First World War following the leadership of Irish nationalist leader John Redmond.

For further information contact:
 
SIPTU Meath District Council Coordinator, John Regan: 087 677 6807

Pictures (free to use) Image 1: SIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser, Gerry McCormack, and Joe Ledwidge, a nephew of Francis, Dan Shaw Centre, Dan Shaw Road, Navan on Saturday, 19th August.

Image 2: Meath District Council Chairman, Anton McCabe, presenting labour historian Francis Devine, with a commemorative image of the Ledwidge sign, Dan Shaw Centre, Dan Shaw Road, Navan on Saturday, 19th August. (Pic: David Laird).

Video of event also free to use:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13-6_fLzDnA&feature=youtu.be


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