Kevin Callinan became Fórsa’s Senior General Secretary last week as former leader Shay Cody retired from the post. He will be supported in the role by the existing General Secretary Eoin Ronayne and a deputy general secretary, who will be ratified by the union’s National Executive Committee (NEC) this week following a competition.
Kevin was formerly deputy general secretary of Fórsa and, before that, IMPACT. The members’ ballot on the structure of the new union, which took place in 2017, included agreement that he would succeed Shay in the top post.
A former activist in Dublin Corporation, Kevin has served as a trade union organiser, official, and national secretary in the health sector, the civil service, education, and local government.
As IMPACT deputy general secretary he spearheaded the creation of a thriving organising department and oversaw the creation of the union’s Education Division, which now has over 12,000 members.
Kevin is currently vice president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and was a member of the executive of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), which recently held its highly-successful tenth congress in Dublin. He is currently a member of the Executive Board of Public Services International.
Kevin told the Bulletin: “My immediate concern is to strengthen the union so that we can deliver better outcomes for members. I have made the case for a review of the Public Services Stability Agreement (PSSA) in the light of changed economic conditions and we already have our eye on public sector pay talks that are anticipated to take place during the first half of next year.”
He also paid tribute to Shay Cody, who retired as senior general secretary on 12th July. “Shay took the helm at an extremely difficult time in 2010. He guided public service unions through three separate sets of talks that resulted in agreements that were subsequently accepted by members. And the creation of Fórsa will stand as a singular achievement and a tribute to his leadership.”