Late Jim Kemmy to be remembered at Limerick city events

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Jim Kemmy, who died 20 years ago this Monday, pictured in 1989 at his office at the Mechanics Institute

Jim Kemmy, who died 20 years ago this Monday, pictured in 1989 at his office at the Mechanics Institute

THE late great Jim Kemmy will be remembered by two events in Limerick city over the next fortnight.

It was 20 years ago this Monday since the trade unionist, TD and mayor of Limerick passed away following a short illness.

And to celebrate his life and times, a film will play in the Limerick Institute of Technology this Friday night, produced by lifelong friend David Burns.

Entitled Kemmy, the film will feature archival footage, photographs and interviews with some of Kemmy’s contemporaries, including former Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan, who Mr Kemmy mentored, plus philanthropist JP McManus, younger brother Joe Kemmy, and President Michael D Higgins.

The film on Friday night – start time 8pm – will be followed up with a lecture in the Granary Library on Tuesday, October 3, from 8pm.

The illustrated talk will be delivered by Dr Brian Callanan, who authored the 2012 biography, Jim Kemmy: Stonemason, Trade Unionist, Politician, Historian.

It’s titled Jim Kemmy: 20 years in hindsight.

Admission is free and all are welcome.

Mr Burns’s hour-long film revisits the former TDs involvement in a number of controversial issues of the 1970s and 1980s, such as illegal contraception, the 1983 abortion referendum, and his advocacy of the two nations idea.

Mr Burns revealed Mr Kemmy recruited him personally to help him run the Limerick Family Planning Clinic in 1976.

“I found him a very interesting person, Mr Burns told the Chronicle, “It was only later I gradually realised how courageous he was in tackling major social and political issues which were seen at the time to be impossible for politicians to address. He was unique for Limerick,” he said.

The film was produced and directed by Dave Burns, filmed by Paul Lynam, edited by Simon Maguire, and presented by playwright Mike Finn.

The screening will be preceded by a wine reception at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

For more information on this, contact 061-293190.

For information on Dr Callanan’s talk, telephone 061-557510.