T.J. O'Connell Commemoration
The INTO organised an evening on 20 November 2012 in the Teachers’ Club in Dublin in commemoration of TJ O’Connell, former INTO General Secretary (1916 -1948).
Originally from Co Mayo, and following teacher service in Co Westmeath, O’Connell was elected INTO General Secretary in 1916. He was the ﬁrst full-time General Secretary and from 1918 was also a member of the Irish Trade Union Congress and Labour Party (a single organisation at the time).
O’Connell was elected to the Dáil at the General Election of 1922 and 1927 (for the constituencies of Galway and Mayo South,respectively) and, following the election of 1927, he became the second leader of the Labour Party succeeding Tom Johnson, a position he held until 1932.
O’Connell presided over the agreed division of the labour movement into separate political and trade union bodies in 1930, at which time he was President of the Congress of Trade Unions as well as Labour Party leader. He also continued as INTO General Secretary during this time.
His INTO career continued for many years after and he was General Secretary during the time of the celebrated 1946 Teachers’ Strike. O’Connell wrote a history of the INTO, 100 Years of Progress, for the union’s centenary in 1968.
The well attended commemoration was organised in conjunction with events held to mark the centenary of the Labour Party (1912-2012). Speakers included Joe O'Toole (who shared three of TJ O’Connell’s offices, as INTO General Secretary, ICTU President and Senator), Niamh Puirseil, author and historian, John Cunningham, NUIG historian and Noel Ward, INTO Deputy General Secretary. Their contributions focussed on TJ’s career, his professional and political life, his contribution to the INTO and his legacy.
Joe O'Toole - background
John Cunningham - background
Niamh Puirséil - Labour Party career
Noel Ward - INTO career
Sheila Nunan - connections