The first full-time organiser of the National Union of Journalists in Ireland, Jim Eadie, has died aged 93 following a short illness.
Mr Eadie’s death was announced by his family on Tuesday morning.
Mr Eadie became the first full-time official, or Irish Secretary, of the NUJ in Ireland and was credited with the development of the union across Ireland.
During his time working for the union, from 1966 until 1994, its membership in Ireland increased more than fourfold, from 788 to 3,456 and he was involved in many initiatives relating to the industry including the establishment of the country’s first full-time third level journalism course at the then College of Commerce in Rathmines.
He was said to have been particularly proud that the union had been the first in Ireland to submit a claim for paid maternity leave and recalled subsequently that he had been told the employer, the Roscommon Herald, conceded the claim in the belief that it would not be a substantial burden “because we won’t be employing many women anyway”.
He had started in journalism himself at the Roscommon Herald before moving to Independent Newspapers in 1956. He was heavily involved in the union chapel (branch) there, working closely with Frank Hall, later of RTÉ, before becoming a full-time official 10 years later.
He was a member of many union and other committees and served for some time on the executive council of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. He remained active in trade union related circles after his retirement.
In a tribute Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said Jim Eadie was a legendary figure known and admired throughout the union for “his wit, humour and commitment”.
She said: “Jim was much loved and respected. Although long retired he retained a keen interest in union affairs and even in his final Illness was keen to get updates on every aspect of our work.”
Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, said: “With the death of Jim Eadie we have lost a unique figure in Irish journalism. He made an enormous contribution to Irish journalism, to trade unionism and to journalism education. To generations of journalists he was ‘Mr NUJ’ in Ireland.”
Mr Eadie is survived by his wife Bridie and their four children Deirdre, Caroline, Colm and James.