Former Senator Billy Cashin remembered

Our former Senator, and native of Kanturk, Co. Cork, Billy Cashin died on Friday 21st July at the age of 85. He was a Taoiseach’s nominee to the Seanad from 1993 to 1997 under Dick Spring as Party Leader, and proudly contested the constituency of Cork North West for the Party.

Our Party Leader Ivana Bacik extended her sympathy to his family and friends on behalf of the Labour Party. Ivana said: 

“Billy Cashin was a proud and longstanding stalwart of our Party over many decades, and on behalf of the Labour Party I want to extend our sympathy to his wife Rita, and his sons, Liam, Emmet and Ciaran, and extended family and friends.  

“He was greatly respected by all who knew him, and proudly contested several hard-fought elections for the Party in Cork North West and Cork County Council. He came from the long and distinguished rural Labour tradition, that was especially strong in Cork and many parts of Munster.  

“His work for the people of Kanturk will be long remembered, and in the Seanad he was an advocate for many issues including rural development, special educational needs, agriculture and the local needs of his home area. 

“I am particularly struck by the number of members who have remembered him so fondly in recent days since we learned of his death. May he rest in peace.” 

In the Irish Times Dick Spring said Mr Cashin followed in the tradition of an earlier generation of Labour politicians such as Paddy McAuliffe in North Cork and Michael Pat Murphy in West Cork who represented the interests of rural workers and small farmers. 

“The Labour Party was at a pretty low ebb in Cork North West in the late 1980s and Bill took it on and worked very hard at trying to raise the party’s profile and obviously contested elections on behalf of the party – he built a very good, solid base as shown by his vote in 1992. 

“He was genuinely a very hard worker at local level and very committed – he represented the rural tradition of the Labour Party going all the way back to 1912, which of course in North Cork was probably best exemplified by Paddy McAuliffe, who was a TD from the 1940s until the late 1960s. 

“After Paddy McAuliffe’s time, Dr Michael Smith almost won a seat for us in Cork North West in 1981 but we did struggle a bit in the constituency after that, but Bill did build up a good base again – he kept his ear to the ground and was always well informed about what happening in the constituency. 

“He was very approachable, and he had a wide range of interests – he was fiercely committed to Kanturk and I remember his maiden speech in the Seanad, he spoke about developing Kanturk Castle as a tourist attraction and argued passionately for funding to preserve it and roof it. 

“I was reminded of that by Michael McCarthy after I heard of Bill’s passing – Bill used to come in to my secretary Sally Clarke’s office and ask, ‘When are we going to get the roof on Kanturk Castle?’ He was very committed to it – he was a salt-of-the-earth guy, really.” 

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