GAA man who ‘brought half of Cork village’ to Essex passes away

The GAA man who brought half of a Cork village to work in Dagenham in Britain has passed away aged 83.

Tim O’Sullivan from the Thomas McCurtain’s club in Essex is credited with employing hundreds of people from his native Dromina, Cork, in Ford plants located in Dagenham, Basildon and Langley.

A lifelong GAA man, O’Sullivan’s influence was such that he brought Christy Ring and the Cork senior hurling team to Essex in the 1960s to play a Thomas McCurtain All Star selection in Dagenham.

“I think that’s one of the achievements of which he was most proud,” said his daughter Marion O’Regan. “He absolutely loved the Thomas McCurtain’s club; he was always bringing players over and was involved all his life.”

O’Sullivan was one of the founding members of the club after emigrating in 1952 and while his influence within London GAA circles was telling, his role as a businessman was even more significant.

“He was old school. They won’t make them like that anymore,” said Tom Watson from the McCurtain’s. “He gave hundreds of people employment, half of Dromina. He employed a lot of Irish people in Essex — every Irish person looking for work he gave it to them.”

His daughter said: “He used to tell people who were coming from home to just bring a hurl with them and Dad would give them a job. He didn’t just provide jobs he provided people with places to stay.”

O’Sullivan’s enterprise saw him graduate from labourer to ‘pylon painter’ to contractor and employer. He would go on to catch the attention of Henry Ford who brought him to Detroit on a business trip. Tom Watson added: “Your first job when you came over here was the important job and many whose first job was with Timmy O’Sullivan went to be successful.”

O’Sullivan married a Limerick woman, Maureen and went on to have four sons, two daughters, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. He lived in Ilford in Essex for 62 years.


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