Time to recognise Limerick’s butchers

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Joe Hayes and Edward McNamara, who are hoping to erect a monument to Limerick's pork butchers. Picture: Brendan Gleeson
Joe Hayes and Edward McNamara, who are hoping to erect a monument to Limerick’s pork butchers.
Picture: Brendan Gleeson

A CAMPAIGN is currently underway to seek recognition for the role that Limerick’s legendary pork butchers played in the city’s history and economy.

The Limerick Pork Butchers Society is seeking donations and support to place a monument in William Street in honour of the city’s four major meat processors.

The factories – Shaws, Mattersons, O’Meara’s, and Dennys – once employed more than 1,000 people in Limerick, about 500 of those as butchers.

“About 50 per cent of all the pigs killed in Ireland were from the four factories in Limerick. We want this monument to remember all the people who worked in the factories and the role they played in Limerick commerce.

“Every year on August 15 we have a mass at St Johns Cathedral for the members, deceased and living, of the Pork Butchers Union. If we were able to erect the monument by August 15 next year, that would be fantastic,” said Joe Hayes of the Limerick Pork Butchers Society.

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The Limerick Pork Butchers were famed for their generosity towards Dublin workers during the Great Lock Out of 1913.

Jim Larkin said that the Limerick Pork Butchers “sent more money every week in proportion to their strength than any other union”.

Metropolitan Mayor Jerry O’Dea has already pledged his support to the campaign, and the Society is also hoping to collaborate on an exhibition and book with the help of the Limerick Archives.

“It started with the memorial stone idea and it’s just snowballed from there. Jacqui Hayes in the Limerick Archives started digging up information and then she said ‘let’s do a book’,” said Mr Hayes.

He added that anyone wishing to contribute photographs or share their stories of the Limerick Pork Butchers could get in touch with Ms Hayes at City Hall.