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LIUNA Local 183
Sheridan named Grand Marshal for Toronto parade
Sheridan named Grand Marshal for Toronto parade
1/12/2016 2:24:53 PM
Original Article can be read here

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An Ardee man has been named one of the Grand Marshals at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Toronto in March, over 40 years after leaving Ireland behind to live and work in Canada.

Pat ‘Patsy’ Sheridan, from Sliabh Breagh in the town, has been named as one of two Grand Marshals for the annual parade which will take place in the city on Sunday March 13th. He will be joined by fellow Irishman and labour leader Sid Ryan.

Sheridan left Ardee for Canada in 1975, at the age of just 26. With his wife Marian and baby daughter Louise, the construction worker – who had previously worked for several contractors in Ardee – began life across the Atlantic by undertaking training at George Brown College.

After gaining employment with Burningham Construction in 1977 – around the time of the arrival of his second daughter Andrea – Pat worked on subway and pipeline projects in the city and all the while became more involved in the labour union setup. He also spent a time teaching welding at a union training centre.

His tireless work and engagement with the industry over several years led to Pat becoming a shop steward for workers on the city’s subway in 1997 before in 2004 he joined LIUNA Local 183 team as a Business Representative where he represented members in the Heavy and Civil sectors.

Now, Pat serves as a Executive Board Member of the construction union and is a highly respected and influential figure in his field in Toronto and across Canada. For all that he gave back to his industry since his arrival in the country, his status has led him to this St Patrick’s Day parade honour.

“It’s great for him and great for mam as well who can see him do this,” Pat’s sister Olive Halpenny told ThisIsArdee.ie. “It’s a great success story because he works very hard out there.”

Patsy grew up alongside three brothers and three sisters in 85 Sliabh Breagh and worked in construction with Billy Rogers for a spell and also for the late Jack Kilcoyne of Sliabh Breagh before moving onto Castleguard Textiles in the town.

A former soccer player, he turned out for Ardee Hibs before he left for Toronto and would often be seen with friends in Enda’s – his watering hole of choice. Not a man to forget his roots, he comes home every year to see his mother Elizabeth and his family. Sadly, his late father Patsy is not around to see him as Grand Marshal. “He would be so, so proud of his son,” Olive said.

Olive, her husband Donal and their brother Thomas are travelling to Toronto in March to watch Patsy as he leads the parade, and they’ll also catch up with him at the Grand Marshal Gala on the Friday before Sunday’s parade. They will be in a very special position too, as they return to Dublin early on the morning on March 17th.

Will that be two St Patrick’s Day parades on two continents?

“We come home that morning,” Olive says. “We’re in at 5am. I have no doubt I’ll be down at the parade!”

Two years ago, Olympic gold medal winner Katie Taylor led the Toronto St Patrick’s Day parade. For an Ardee man – Pat Sheridan – to be selected to follow in her footsteps is quite the achievement.

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