The voice Kilkenny workers can rely on

The voice Kilkenny workers can rely on

During this pandemic there is one thing workers can rely on and that is the commitment of the Kilkenny Council of Trade Unions to be there for them, even if it means adopting new work practices and online platforms.

Like every other location and organisation across the country, Covid 19 has had a serious impact in Kilkenny and on the Kilkenny Council of Trade Unions (KKCTU). Our meetings, traditionally hosted in the SIPTU offices on Patrick Street, have had to be postponed due to level 5 restrictions resulting in a diminished ability to network.  However, the Council has faced challenges before and we will continue to work hard to launch our new website and maintain local relations such as lobbying our TDs to prioritise trade union issues.

Among our many functions, one of the most important is the representative role within the Kilkenny County Council SPC scheme.  Our Council members serve on a number of Strategic Planning Committees including;

  • Eileen Moyles (formerly TUI) is our representative on SPC 1: Economic Development, Enterprise Support and Tourism Planning & Development Policy;
  • Ger Mooney (Connect) is our representative on SPC 2: Transportation Policy Mobility Management & Water Services
  • Yvonne Moriarty (Noreside Centre) represents us on SPC 3: Housing 
  • Fergal Canton (ASTI) is the representative on SPC 5: Community, Cultural & Fire Services.


These roles allow us to keep up to date with developments in the community and ensure that the voices of workers and their families are presented and acted upon.  Although this pandemic has changed how and where we engage with the Committee, making contributions more difficult than previously, we will continue to ensure that a trade union perspective is brought to those discussions regardless of whether they take place online, at a webinar or in a physical space.

For instance, at a recent meeting of the SPC on Community, Culture and Fire Services, there was a presentation made on the development of the Kilkenny Migrant Integration Action Plan 2021-2023.  Whilst this is something which the KKCTU would be keen to engage with, unfortunately we were not invited to participate during the consultation period which included mapping of supports for migrants and participating in focus groups on adequate service provision.  However, I subsequently raised this issue at the meeting and KKCTU has now been included as a consultative body and a service provider to migrants in our community.

Whilst many have already engaged in their platform of choice for their Trades Council meetings, we only recently held our first Zoom meeting which was challenging but which has now been surpassed.  And although learning new technology can be difficult it was the loss of the synergy and creativity which physical meetings create, that concerns us the most.   However, this pandemic has presented us with an excellent opportunity to upskill and obtain some new technological skills and we will take full advantage of that. 

It is particularly important during these times that Trades Councils continue to engage with workers locally, many of whom may not know where to turn for support.  But whilst there are particular challenges now, workers will continue to face difficulties long after the pandemic and so it is to us, local trades councils, to improve the visibility and accessibility of our movement in the long-term to ensure that we can provide ongoing information and support.

Whether physically or virtually present, Trades Councils are a necessary tool in the fight against exploitation and Kilkenny Council of Trade Union will continue that fight wherever it takes us.

Fergal Canton
Kilkenny Council of Trade Unions (KKCTU)

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