Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10 - (Page 23)

Stitching moss peat bales for export profIle heritaGe A herItage CorNer came from all over Ireland to work for the TDB sometimes refused to foot turf, as they regarded this as woman’s work. The type of work associated with Bord na Móna was more likely to attract males anyway but, on one occasion, a party of Pollagh women did descend on Boora works seeking employment as harrow drivers and bog workers. The Boora authorities, worried about the prospect of providing alternative facilities for women throughout the bog, replied that there was a long waiting list of men for such jobs. The photo of the hessian bale stitchers at Kilberry is one of the few images of women doing what might be considered manual work. By the 1950s, things gradually began to improve for female employees. However, equal pay for equal work took a while. In 1958, the TDB offered a wage increase of 10/- (10 shillings) per week for male staff and 7/6d (7 shillings and six pence) per week for female staff. It was only in 1970 that some female clerks were moved on to the male clerical scheme. There were also some changes in legislation and practice leading to the employment of married women. After 1975, married women were free to remain in employment and the organisation could recruit married women. almost a CeNtury of memorIes F emale employees were traditionally the minority in both Bord na Móna and its predecessor, the Turf Development Board (TDB). one outstanding woman, Bridget Flynn, joined the TDB in 1944 and became chief Accountant from the late 1940s until her retirement in 1967. one of the difficulties associated with employing women in the TDB camps was mentioned by Todd Andrews, who wrote that “two years elapsed before our fear of ecclesiastical approval was overcome sufficiently to do so”. The church authorities believed that women working in the camps would lead to much temptation for the male employees and a breakdown in morals. Another difficulty was trade union disapproval. In 1948, the Federation of Rural Workers union demanded that women employed on footing work be dismissed and replaced by men. In 1951, the ITGWU sought guarantees that no female labour would be employed in Bord na Móna’s hostels and, in 1952, it lodged objections to the employment of female labour in hostels. Women and children had traditionally been employed to foot turf and many of the men who t 92, John clohessy has a great recall of the early years of Bord na Móna, a company he joined in 1944. “I had joined the Irish Army during the Emergency and, later, we were granted leave if you were required to help with the tillage. I had no luck with the farm, so I joined the Turf Development Board,” said John, who lives across the road from Mouds Bog between Prosperous and Robertstown in co. Kildare. Retired since 1985, John spent most of his career as a storesman in Timahoe and recalls his early career as head orderly in the hostels set up at the time as living accommodation for the men working the bogs. “I was in charge of six orderlies and had to make sure they were doing their jobs. There were seven billets in Timahoe at the time, each with around 300 men and it was the orderlies’ job to clean out the billets when the men went to work, make the beds and then have the dinner ready for them when they came back from work in the evenings.” With a strong interest and recall of history, John can remember turf being cut by hand on the bogs and sent to Dublin initially in hired trucks before the Turf Development Board secured its own transport. His wife, Molly, now deceased, had an uncle who also transported peat to Dublin by barge. A great-grandfather to 15 greatgrandchildren, including a new addition in June, he has given up his interest in gardening. “After I retired, I sowed everything and anything.” That ability to be self-sufficient served him well during the Emergency when he traded cigarettes for foodstuffs that were rationed. “We had cigarettes in the canteen and I used to collect cigarettes from fellas who didn’t smoke and I had a deal with a girl in a local shop – I’d keep her in cigarettes and she’d keep me in tea and milk!” INformatIoN S to find out more about employment in the turf development Board and Bord na Móna, visit Source | 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10

Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10
A round-up of news from around the company
Community Values
Looking Ahead with Confidence
From Waste to Compost
Saving Energy
Building Commitment
At the Coal Face
Annual Report Results
A Dog's Life
Updates on important developments and projects
Heritage Corner
A nationwide spotlight on special occasions, events and achievements across the company

Bord na Móna - Source Issue 10