Tributes paid to former Siptu president Jimmy Somers

One-time Dublin City councillor described as ‘great trade union leader, friend and mentor’

Tributes have been paid to former Siptu president and Dublin city councillor Jimmy Somers who died on Friday.

Somers, a well-known figure in Labour Party and trade union circles, was president of Siptu from 1997 to 1999, having previously served as the organisation’s vice-president.

During that period he was involved in negotiating the Partnership 2000 deal between government and the unions, which proved divisive at the time. He was also associated with a number of high-profile disputes, including the nurses’ strike of 1999 and talks that averted a threatened closure at the time of Tara Mines.

He moved from the union in 1999 to the Labour Court and also served on the Labour Relations Commission in 2004. He was also treasurer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions during part of that period and was later involved with a number of public boards in retirement.


A long-time Labour Party activist, Somers ran unsuccessfully for the Dáil on a number of occasions during the seventies and eighties in the Dublin North-West and Dublin Central constituencies.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik described Somers as “a staunch trade unionist activist and community leader”.

Broadcaster Joe Duffy said he was “a great trade union leader” as well as “a friend and mentor”.

Senator Marie Sherlock described him as “a stalwart of Dublin Central Labour Party for many decades” and “a proud west Cabra man. He and his beloved wife Alice were a fantastic support to so many of us.”

Alice Somers (née McGrath) died in October. He is survived by his children, Jimmy, Derek and Amanda. He will repose at Kirwan’s funeral home on Fairview Strand on Wednesday evening before his funeral on Thursday at 10am at St Anthony’s Church, Clontarf.

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Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times