Des Brannigan was born in Dublin in 1918. His family lived in the basement flat of no.19, North Great Georges Street. He went to sea at an early age, where he first became active in trade unionism, eventually becoming general secretary of the Marine, Port and General Workers’ Union.
In his later years he was the work-study expert for ICTU, and produced background reports for trade unionists engaged in various disputes.
Des was also a deep sea diver, and helped in the discovery of many of the Spanish Armada wreaks which lie off the coast of Ireland.
As with the Joe Deasy and Sam Nolan tapes, this interview will form part of a series of documentaries for DCTV on Irish labour and working class history. We are still working on the details of the project, but hopefully we’ll have the first of them completed by the end of the summer.
In the meantime, here’s a short clip of Des talking about the first time he heard Jim Larkin speak, which was in Unity Hall, Marlborough Street, sometime in the mid-1920s.