Socialist Party members were greatly saddened at the untimely passing on November3rd of John Gahan, a staunch member of the party and an energetic activist in the tradeunion and labour movement.John, who was only 42, died after a six month period of illness which he met withcharacteristic courage and resilience.
John Gahan was a long standing trade union activist as a member of the PsychiatricNurses Association. He steadfastly opposed the capitulation of much of the generaltrade union leadership within the so called social partnership process of deals betweenthe government, the employers and union leaders. He fought for a trade union movement that struggled independently for workers’ rights and to defend publicservices.
John canvassed enthusiastically for the Socialist Party, especially in Dublin West. In a tribute in front of a large attendance at his funeral, his brother in law Micheál recalledhow John constantly discussed and argued about socialism as the alternative society.Micheál told how John was a staunch fighter against the bin tax which he saw as an unjust stealth tax on working people. He was loudly applauded when he finished by saying that if everybody stood and fought for justice and fairness in the way John did,the country would not be in the kind of crisis we are in today.
John Gahan had a great zest for life. A keen fitness enthusiast, he was a noted playerof hockey and a keen follower of Gaelic football and soccer. Just how widely his generous personality reached was shown by the huge attendance at his funeral.
John’s wife, Michelle, was a tower of strength in his difficult illness and he had theconstant and unstinting love of Micheal(11) and Áine(9), his children whom headored. They will miss him desperately and so will his comrades in the Socialist Party and his wide circle of neighbours, friends, fellow workers and patients in thepsychiatric services.
One of the last books John read was a biography of James Connolly. Like Connollyhe loathed the greed and exploitation inherent in capitalism and fought for ademocratic socialist society with justice and a decent life for all. His commitment, his endless wit and humour and his very full life will inspire us to continue to advance thefight for the socialist cause we shared.