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Remembering Dockers

In eleven years of its history, the Dock Workers’ Preservation Society has done impressive work, amassing a resource of thousands of photographs of Dublin Port and the dock labour workforce. But it has been frustrated in attempts to honour three deep-sea dockers –  to recognise what it describes as their “unique contributions to national, social and  economic history. So far, that has been frustrated. Dockers are very much a part of our maritime history..Port operations have changed in modern times and the role of the traditional dock workers of previous years has been changed in the ports of our country, now intensively operated by modern technology. MARITIME IRELAND is the Programme about Ireland’s maritime development, about our relationship with the sea around this island nation and about our maritime culture, history and tradition. So it is appropriate that in the February edition we raise the question of why the Preservation Society’s attempts to have three Dublin Dockers pubicly acknowledged has not been acceped by local authorities in the capital.

John ‘Miley’ Walsh, a former docker, makes the point that maritime tradition should be remembered and if this is not done by the dockers attempts – who will do so?

So who are the men the Society wants recognised? Well, they are Patrick Currie, William Deans and the deep sea docker, Michael Donnell who, the Society says, started the ‘blacking’ of munitions arriving by ship in Dublin Port to supply the British Army during the War of Independence. Patrick Currie suffered heavily as a Prisoner-of-War of the Japanese during World War Two and William Deans rescued three ships’ officders from a hold in a vessel in Dublin Port, as well as carrying out two other rescues.

Surely, these are men whose story deserves to be publicly known, says John ‘Miley’ Walsh.

Tom MacSweeney

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