Begg praised as a true champion of workers

Ictu general secretary retires after 14 years in position

David Begg, who has retired as general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), has been a true champion for workers, Tánaiste Joan Burton has said.

Mr Begg had held the position of general secretary of Congress, the umbrella body for the trade union movement in Ireland, since 2001.

Ms Burton and trade union leaders last night paid tribute to Mr Begg at a function in Dublin to mark his retirement.

“David has been a committed and relentlessly hard-working servant for the labour movement,” Ms Burton said.


"Since becoming general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in 2001, he has shown exemplary leadership in representing the concerns of workers. David played a key role in supporting the work of the Labour Party in ensuring collective bargaining is legislated for by this government."

She continued: “In often challenging times, David has always put first what is in best interests of the labour movement. I wish David a happy retirement. He has been and will continue to be a true champion for workers.”

Prior to his appointment as general secretary of Congress, Mr Begg served as general secretary of the Communications Workers' Union and as head of ESBOA, the union representing staff in the ESB.

He was chief executive of the charity Concern Worldwide from 1997 to 2001.

Mr Begg also formerly served as governor of the Irish Times Trust and as a director of the Central Bank.

He was a member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and a non-executive director of Aer Lingus.

As general secretary of Congress he was a key figure in the social partnership process and was centrally involved negotiating a number of agreements with the government, employers, farmers and other groups.

Mr Begg announced at the ICTU biennial conference in Belfast in July 2013 that he would be stepping down as general secretary before the next conference is held later this year in Ennis, Co Clare.

He will be succeeded as general secretary of Congress by Patricia King, the current vice-president of Siptu, the country's largest trade union.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent