Cor­ish hon­oured in cen­te­nary year

Wexford People - - NEWS - By ANNA HAYES

THE LIFE and work of the late Bren­dan Cor­ish, Labour Party leader, and Tá­naiste from 1973 to 1977, was ex­plored by a panel of speak­ers at a spe­cial con­fer­ence in Wex­ford town li­brary.

The event was held to co­in­cide with the 100th an­niver­sary of Bren­dan Cor­ish’s birth, on Novem­ber 19, 1918.

Or­gan­ised by the Ir­ish Labour His­tory So­ci­ety (ILHS), the event was booked out, with stand­ing room only for those who hap­pened to pass by the pro­ceed­ings.

Vis­i­tors were able to get a flavour of the day by in­spect­ing a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion, com­piled by He­len Cor­ish Wylde and county ar­chiv­ist Grainne Do­ran, which fo­cused on both Richard Cor­ish and Bren­dan Cor­ish, in­clud­ing some fas­ci­nat­ing arte­facts from more than 100 years ago.

Among the speak­ers were: Joe Thomas, chair­per­son of Wex­ford Trades Coun­cil; Fran­cis Devine; Jack McGin­ley, who read out Bren­dan Hal­li­gan’s pa­per on Cor­ish and the New Repub­lic; Tony Browne, a for­mer ad­vi­sor to Cor­ish, who fo­cused on so­cial wel­fare re­form to com­bat poverty and pro­mot­ing so­cial in­clu­sion; Fion­nu­ala Richard­son, vice pres­i­dent of the ILHS; and Niall Green who dis­cussed ‘Bren­dan Cor­ish and Labour Party Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­form’.

Fam­ily and rel­a­tives played a large role in the day, and many trav­elled from far and near to at­tend the event.

He­len Cor­ish Wylde, as well as be­ing the lo­cal point of con­tact for the ILHS, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on her un­cle’s life, fo­cus­ing on his achieve­ments on the GAA pitch and the stage, as well as in pol­i­tics.

Bren­dan Cor­ish’s son Richard spoke can­didly about life as the son of a politi­cian, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the 1970s when the Trou­bles had an im­pact on those in Dáil Éire­ann as well.

The pro­ceed­ings were closed by cur­rent Labour Party leader Bren­dan Howlin who shared his own mem­o­ries of Cor­ish, af­ter whom he was named. He shared anec­dotes about Cor­ish’s last elec­tion cam­paign, which he worked on.

He also touched on Cor­ish’s no­tion of the New Repub­lic, some­thing which, he said, was still rel­e­vant to­day and which was ref­er­enced in the re­cent Labour Party con­ven­tion.

Or­gan­iser He­len Cor­ish Wylde ex­pressed her sin­cere thanks to the ILHS, the staff of Wex­ford town li­brary and ar­chiv­ist Grainne Do­ran for their in­valu­able sup­port in the run-up to and dur­ing the event.

The day ended with a ren­di­tion of Bren­dan Cor­ish’s favourite song ‘The West’s Awake’, sung by Cllr Ge­orge Lawlor, ac­com­pa­nied by Don­agh Wylde.

The Cor­ish fam­ily (from left): Mon­ica, David and Eoin Cor­ish; Richard Lambe; Phyl­lis Cor­ish, wife of the late Bren­dan; Richard Lambe; Phyl­lis and Bren­dan’s sons, John, Richard and Philip Cor­ish; and Goretti, Anna and Kate Cor­ish. Labour Party leader Bren­dan Howlin with Phyl­lis Cor­ish.

Bren­dan Cor­ish in 1973.

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