To mark the upcoming International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD), trade unionists from across Northern Ireland attended the unveiling of a new stone memorial in Enniskillen last Saturday, April 23.

IWMD, an international day of remembrance takes place annually around the world on April 28 to commemorate those who have lost their lives at work or from work-related injury and diseases.

This year, the commemoration in Enniskillen took place in Brook Park (near the Round ‘O’) on the Saturday before the official IWMD date, that falls today, Thursday, April 28.

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter following the commemoration, trade unionist Jim Quinn said that organisers were “very happy” with the event.

“It was very successful, it went very well. There were 30-40 people there, from local shop stewards to people from other areas,” said Jim, noting that people travelled from Craigavon, Portadown and Omagh, and other surrounding areas to attend.


The event featured a number of speakers, with Andrew Cathers, the Chairperson of Fermanagh Council of Trade Unionists, presiding over the event.

“Councillor Howard Thornton, representing Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, said a few words because the Council were assisting with the installation of the memorial at Brook Park,” said Jim, continuing: “Then we had a speaker, Maria Morgan, from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

“I spoke myself at the end, to wind it up and put it in a historical context,” he added.

Explaining that the purpose of the IWMD event is twofold, Jim said: “One is that we think it is very important to remember those who have died in the course of their work, whether that be by accidents at work, or whether it be by industrial diseases affecting them maybe later in life as a result of their work.

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“The second, equally important emphasis, is every year we get people to start focusing back in on health and safety at work.

“We encourage our local union reps to do safety inspections during the month of April,” he explained, adding: “We would like to think they are doing them more frequently, but we try to make sure every year at least there’s an inspection being done during that period.

“So you are on the look-out for hazards or other problems at work that might cause injury or illness.”

During the event, a new memorial stone was unveiled. “We put a memorial stone there 20 years ago in 2002 when we started to mark Workers’ Memorial Day here in Enniskillen,” said Jim.

“Our 100th anniversary was in 2019, and we actually intended to put a more permanent stone in at that time, but with Covid-19 following shortly afterwards, we didn’t get doing anything until now.”

Jim Quinn, Unite the Union.

Jim Quinn, Unite the Union.

Jim described the new memorial stone installed in Brook Park as a “permanent and fitting memorial for those who have died in the course of their work in the county over the years”.

He added: “It also remembers Jim Brown, one of the initiators of the Workers’ Memorial Day in the county.”

Continuing, he said: “There’s very few workplaces that haven’t had a fatality or very bad accident at some point or another.

“It’s important that those people are remembered, and their relatives know that we are remembering them,” Jim told this newspaper.