TWO local media stalwarts have been honoured for a lifetime of service to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at a ceremony organised by the union’s Irish South West branch.
Clare Champion Sports Editor Seamus Hayes and public relations professional, Colman Garrihy were honoured for their service to the NUJ over more than 40 years.
Lissycasey native Seamus Hayes is well known throughout the county and the region in his role with The Champion, having joined the newsroom directly from St Flannan’s College in Ennis, where he excelled both as a student and sportsman on various teams.
Seamus joined the union when The Clare Champion chapel was set up in 1971.
In the early days, he was a member of a very trim newsroom staff, which included another long-time NUJ member, Tony Mulvey. He covered Shannon Town when it was in its infancy but sport was always his passion and he brought his personal experience to bear in his writing for The Champion.
Seamus excelled at football, togging out for Clare in goal at minor level and making a few appearances at senior level, on one occasion lining out against Dublin in Croke Park. Later that year, the same Dublin side won the All-Ireland.
Seamus was a champion squash player and is a keen golfer and member of Lahinch Golf Club.
High points in his career include covering the Clare footballers winning the Munster title in 1992 and the hurlers’ various All-Ireland victories.
Colman Garrihy has been a staunch member of the NUJ since 1972, when he joined from the ITGWU. Colman started his career in 1970 with Shannon Development as a press officer. In the years that followed, he took on a number of key roles in Shannon Development, retiring as the organisation’s communications manager in 1997.
Following his retirement, Colman went on to set up his own successful business, providing editorial services to a wide range of clients.
Seamus and Colman received life membership of the NUJ in recognition of more than 40 years of union membership.
At the event on Friday, Colm Ward, outgoing chair of the NUJ Irish South West Branch said, “It is a great pleasure to honour two people who have given so much to the union at chapel and branch level. A union’s strength is proportionate to the input of its members and neither Colman nor Seamus have ever been found wanting.
“Seamus has held many positions in The Clare Champion chapel and was Irish South West branch joint treasurer in the 1970s, when union subs were collected by driving to members’ homes. He has always stood firm on the union’s values and remains an active member.
“We in the branch have also been fortunate to benefit from Colman’s expertise on a number of occasions in recent years, including the launch of our freelance directory and the Truth In The News conference last March, held in association with the PRII, of which Colman is also a member,” Colm continued.
“Over the past decade, as pay and conditions for media professionals have been eroded, particularly in relation to young people entering journalism, many of whom are being asked to work for free, unity has never been more important. We look forward to honouring the work and dedication of other members to the union and its goals in the near future,” Mr Ward concluded.