SIPTU President Jack O’Connor has paid tribute to leading trade unionist and human rights campaigner, Inez McCormack, who passed away today (21st January). “Inez McCormack’s work as a defender of working people and campaigner for peace has helped shape modern Ireland. The level of energy and commitment she brought to the many campaigns and causes she championed acted as an inspiration to others”.“Her life’s work spanned many fields, including defending workers rights in the face of the onslaught of the 1980s Thatcher governments, to advocating for the travelling community, to a key role in ensuring the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 was truly inclusive of all sectors of Northern Ireland’s society.”Jack O’Connor added: “As a trade unionist and feminist Inez broke the mould. She was the first woman full-time official to be appointed by the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE).   She was the first woman to become Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee of ICTU, and from 1999 to 2001 the first woman to serve as President of ICTU. In the energy she brought to these positions, and in her leadership of the Northern Ireland branch of her own union UNISON, Inez ensured that the Irish trade union movement truly lived up to its commitment to represent all workers regardless of their gender, creed or ethnicity.”“It is with sadness but also great pride that I recall Inez’s role as a fearless champion of working people and extend my union’s sympathy to her husband Vincent and her family whose sense of deep loss will be shared by many people throughout Ireland.”