Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Clondalkin Paper Mills Collection 23: Peter Connolly
|Irish Life and Lore
|Clondalkin Paper Mill
|Irish Life and Lore/South Dublin Libraries
|Track 1: Peter Connolly started work in the building section of Clondalkin Paper Mills in June 1960, and after a few years he was interviewed by Seán Carroll, Production Manager, for a permanent position. His first job had been sweeping the floor and keeping the place tidy, and he then moved to first assistant and later to second assistant on one of the paper machines. After a few years, a vacancy arose for Production Foreman and he applied for the position. He recalls the jealousy he faced when he was promoted, and he considers that he was successful in his application for promotion as he was recognised as being reliable. He continued in this position until the closure of the mills. He describes his family background, explaining that his father came from Ballyfermot and moved to Clondalkin, working initially as a crane driver and becoming a maintenance helper at the mills. When Peter was 21 he returned home from England having spent three years there, and his father enquired about any openings that might be available at the mills. Peter recalls the importance of contacts and how he had got a job as a runner with the Irish Times after school. He talks about the second- and third-generation workers at the mills and how this situation greatly affected families during the strikes. His own father could not afford to support his family on strike pay during the 1966 strike, and he took up another job in the village. Peter recalls the various places where he lived during his lifetime and the splitting up of the family after his mother, Brigid, died from tuberculosis. He talks about the hardships suffered just after WWI1 and the difficulties of getting work. The rough treatment meted out to him in school is remembered, and he considers that he and his brother were fortunate not to be taken into care. He describes some of the ‘devilment’ that they got up to, and his memory of his mother’s poor health and her death are described. Track 2: Peter explains that he joined his brother in Manchester, together with a friend Jim Smith. However, there was no work available and after a few months he joined the British Army in order to avoid the prospect of living rough. He was sent to join the Royal Ulster Rifles in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, where many men from Dublin were also serving. He recalls being told by older men on his return to Dublin to watch his back, and he says that there are still ex-army men who would be nervous of returning home. For three years he was on active service in Cyprus during the late 1950s, and he recalls his time there. He recalls a colleague named Kinsella from Walkinstown, who was killed and was buried in Nicosia during this time, and the political situation on the island is also considered. The benefits of working in the army in terms of experience and skills gained are mentioned. Track 3: He describes his first jobs at the mills, working at the water plant filtering the effluent to the River Camac. The lack of health and safety procedures and the toxic materials that they were handling in the mills are recalled. He describes his work as a Production Foreman and being in charge of a shift. Under his control were a Scottish man in the loft, Ken Rintoul, and brothers Seamus and Percy Boland and Kevin Condron. The workers had a restroom where they could smoke and make refreshments, he explains. Track 4: Peter remembers working seven days a week, with his overtime pay greater than his basic salary. He loved his work and he recalls the quiet roads when he was cycling to work at 44 all hours. He considers that the workers were badly advised by the trade unions, and says that it was a great disappointment to him when the mills closed. Fortunately, he was immediately offered a position as Production Foreman at a plastics factory, also in Clondalkin. He recalls that he was earning about £200 a week at the mills but that he earned less at the new job. Although he considered returning to the mills when it re-opened, he decided against this owing to personal problems which he might possibly face. He talks about the attitude of some workers to work, and the problems this created. He remembers the hard work he undertook at a petrol station during the 16 week strike in 1966 in order to pay his mortgage. The poor conditions in the cottage in Neilstown where he lived in a young child are again discussed and he mentions that his health was affected by the damp conditions. He retired early from his job owing to ill-health caused by his exposure to tuberculosis as a young child.
|For permission to reproduce any of these recordings, contact Irish Life and Lore at firstname.lastname@example.org. For MP3 or CD copies of interviews, please see www.irishlifeandlore.com
|Click here to view the location in Google Maps
|Appears in Collections:
|Clondalkin Paper Mills Oral History Collection
Files in This Item:
|01 Peter Connelly 3.mp3
|01 Peter Connelly 2.mp3
|01 Peter Connelly 1.mp3
This item is protected by original copyright
Items in Source are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.