Peter Nolan retired this week after 42 years of trade union activism.
The head of Fórsa’s Local Government Division and Municipal Employees’ Division first got involved in the union when he started work in Dublin Corporation – now Dublin City Council – over 40 years ago. Before that, he was a student activist and a community activist.
Peter was a young president of the Local Government and Public Services Union (LGPSU), before and during the amalgamation that created IMPACT in 1991. He then became joint president of the newly-formed union.
He subsequently joined the union’s staff and worked in health, the civil service and education as well as the local authority sector. Peter also did stints as a regional official in the north-east, midlands and south-east.
When he successfully competed for the national secretary role, he first worked in the civil service division, before taking up his final Fórsa role in the local government sector.
Peter also represented the union’s local authority members in the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) for many years, and was recently elected vice–president of its local government committee.
In a message to local authority branches this week, Peter paid tribute to Fórsa activists, saying they held a very special position as leaders of one of the most influential trade unions in Ireland.
“You have shaped Irish economic and social policy over a considerable period of time, from the creation of the State to the marriage equality referendum,” he said.
Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan, who first worked with Peter as an activist in the LGPSU’s Dublin Corporation branch, said Peter’s knowledge of, and belief in, trade unionism, local democracy and local services was unsurpassed.
“In recent years, the union’s two divisions in the local authority sector have benefitted tremendously from Peter’s energy, expertise, commitment and passion for trade unionism. But there is virtually no corner of the union where Peter’s positive influence hasn’t been felt, and his determination to take on inequality and injustice – in the workplace, in the community and across society – is second to none.
“Everybody in the union wishes Peter every happiness and success in whatever he chooses to do next,” he said.