Analysis Breaking comment

Unite: no denial Graham has cancelled Dublin visit this week after Ogle outrage

Despite more than two days to deny cancellation, union fails to do so and says it will not respond to further requests for comment

Unite activists in Ireland say that the union’s general secretary Sharon Graham has cancelled her planned appearance in Dublin this week at Unite’s Irish policy conference, with no excuse yet provided by the union. Ms Graham was due to speak at the event on Tuesday and take part in a ‘Q&A’ with delegates.

The cancellation comes as outrage continues to mount in Ireland at what locals say is a London-driven attack on Ireland’s most senior Unite officer, Brendan Ogle, in an attempt to coerce him into a demotion and a sidelined job 100 miles or so from his usual base after his return from successful cancer treatment. The move has seen branches write to Graham demanding Ogle’s return to his normal duties, Irish politicians express their condemnation – and even one of the union’s big sectors start moves to disaffiliate entirely from Unite.

Skwawkbox wrote to Unite on Friday asking for comment on the reasons for the cancellation. Despite more than two days to provide comment or deny the cancellation, the union has only responded with what Skwawkbox’s legal advisers say is a defamatory response – and to say that it will no longer answer any press enquiries from Skwawkbox.

One local source told this site:

It looks absolutely terrible for the visit to be cancelled when there are so many people clamouring for answers, explanation and a guarantee that this unacceptable behaviour will stop.

SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you’d like to help it keep revealing the news as it is and not what the Establishment wants you to hear – and can afford to without hardship – please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep doing its job.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. It appears that Graham doesn’t have enough of a back bone. I believed she will back track and claim miscommunication but it appears that she doesn’t know when she has lost a battle.

    1. What battle Maria? She seems to be choosing to not attend. Why? Is the Brendan Ogle dispute a factional battle that even the general secretary cannot resolve? Union bureaucracy being manipulated by the Labour right (maybe the very same Water Industry privateers that have a snout in Unite as well as Siir Keir’s political party?)

      1. qwertboi, either Graham allows Brendan Ogle to resume his job or she could be facing the Irish equivalent on an Employment Tribunal.
        I have not doubts that Unite will lose the case.This is the battle I am talking about, losing this case will damage her reputation beyond repair.
        I could be wrong, but I don’t believe Ogle will take a redundancy package and run like others have done. Otherwise, he will have negotiated a package already.

      2. quertboi….there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes so my cousin tells me and manouvering in Irish politics and unions.
        Brendans got a good reputation and has no time for the two neo liberal alliance disaster politicians and has shown support for Sinn Fein when the two looser partys were throwing muck around.The only message I can take from this mtg in Dublin is that Sharon Graham as made a serios mistake and has shown a serios lack of judgment when dealing with the Irish who if anyone needs reminding are a dynamic Irish republic who are developing their unions and politics with a odds on Sinn Fein taking the country as the first democatic socialist party and oldest party in the Republic..I wouldn’t be suprised at the parting of ways with Unite after this fiasco.

      3. Joseph – Given that when she was elected you said “[Sharon] Graham called the best shots and I have a feeling that she will be like a breath of fresh air” then are we to take it that in your eyes she has failed to live up-to your expectations?

    2. She’s got that Hodge, bathtub channel fugue about her . Should call her chums at UCAT for a new plasterer. How the hell do these people get to be chosen, golden ones? They clearly loathe the working class and find their jobs to be a bit of an irritant to be endured as part of the climb.

    3. Looks like the US railworkers have won a historic victory. Under close scrutiny it is far from a great victory. The point that I think is important is that the threat of a popular national strike forced a sort of agreement. The threat!

  2. Something’s very wrong. None of this is making any sense at all. I didn’t want the newly-elected general secretary to be at centre of such nonsense, but it looks like she is – and that she isn’t even trying to manage her own reputation.

    Something’s very wrong – and it’s Unite the Union and the wider Labour Movement generally that will pay a price. Enough already! We need an explanation of the entire fiasco from Graham herself.

  3. Graham has made a massive mistake by silencing Unites voice in politics! We must all ask why she’s done this and what was her true reason for doing so? Not looking good is it!?

    1. Andrew, Wow, just when a modicum of militancy puts its hand up and asks for permission to strike. Just when we need unity and support this shit appears. Ponder, meditate, looks back in history books. Ah.

    1. just because of Ogle’s Coordinator role in Right2Water “to enshrine our water services in public ownership”, I’d have thought not, but we do need to know – and it’d be good to get a handle on who or what (in Unite) authorised Ogle’s demotion. Why isn’t Sharon Graham not disclosing any of this?

      Although I love trade unions, I hate the bureaucracy they seem to enshroud themselves in.

      1. QB, from times immoral. We have to do something about the quality of leadership. Sure enough we had self servers and pole climbers but even the worst had direct links with our class. Even Hammond and his vile predecessor did well for their members, albeit in a most disgusting manner. This crew concentrate on pension plans , ermine and arses on boards, charities etc.

    2. Andrew, I seriously doubt that Ogle supports Starmer, as some point Sinn Fein was consider him as a possible candidate until Ogle refused to stand for Sinn Fein.
      But, the fact that Sinn Fein was making overtures towards Ogle and his staunch defence of public ownership of water, points towards Ogle been more comfortable with Corbyn that with Starmer.

  4. Sharon has just found out that she can’t walk all over a fulltime official in Dublin and get away with it the way she would in London – this was her first big mistake.
    Her second one was to duck out of the Dublin Conference. If she had the decency or the backbone to go over, apologise and say she would make things right she MIGHT have been able to ride out the storm but now that she has added cowardice to her callous ( and unlawful) treatment of Brendan Ogle she has no chance in my opinion of ever being respected or even tolerated in Ireland.
    I think the Unite members there may now resign en- masse and join SIPTU an Irish TU which organises alongside Unite. If that happens I don’t see how she can survive.

  5. This cancellation is exactly what I predicted on here the other day. She’s controlled opposition and one can’t help noticing that “esteemed” left newspaper The Morning Star, always so quick to praise her, has remained stoney silent on this story…

    1. After the civil war the Star has evolved into this. I stopped my sub once they gave Lennard, the second coming headlines.

      1. I’d like to know how the hell the paper came to be run communists who think the CCP walk on water. More controlled opposition!

Leave a Reply