J.A. McLoghry, First Secretary, Sligo Chamber
The operation and function of Sligo Chamber in 2023 can only be sustained through the workings of its permanent staff. The President of the day and the members of the Chamber Board depend on the staff to manage day-to-day activities, implement strategy and service the interests of member firms. The Chief Executive, Aidan Doyle, plays a key role in all of these functions, in supporting the President and the Board, in providing profile to the organisation, leadership to the permanent team, collaborating with external agencies, and in communicating with and being visible to the wider Chamber membership.
The role of Chief Executive is a relatively new one to the Chamber. At the time of the formation of Sligo Chamber in 1923, the then equivalent role was that of Secretary, and the role was a part-time one. The First Secretary of Sligo Chamber was J.A. McLoghry, who served in this capacity for over 25 years. There can be little doubt that it would not have been possible to compile these series of articles charting the history of the early decades of the development of Sligo Chamber without his considerable input. The meticulous manner in which he documented the minutes of every Chamber meeting is remarkable to see at this remove, one hundred years later. There is clarity in the manner in which every resolution brought before the Chamber is proposed, seconded, before being passed unanimously, occasionally with a named dissenter. The poignancy, solemnity and depth of feeling in the recording of the deaths of Chamber members and dignitaries alike is spellbinding, bringing the reader into the page “the members standing in silence”. The history of events in Sligo are told as if stories, all indexed, all handwritten in ink on quality vellum and preserved in heavy volumes which have stood the test of time in perfect mint condition. The penmanship is that of a craftsman excelling in his trade, a thing of beauty.
Mr. J.A. McLoghry gets little thanks or praise in the Minute Books of Sligo Chamber for his sterling work and unstinting service, and that perhaps may be down to the man himself, and his own humility as the author of the minutes for over 25 years. It is for this reason, and because of the debt of gratitude we in Sligo Chamber today in 2023 owe J.A. McLoghry for the outstanding and enduring records, that this article is being written in his honour and simply to say, thanks.
It was at the meeting held on the 29th of December 1922 in the Café Cairo, Wine Street, for the purposes of inaugurating a Chamber of Commerce in Sligo that Mr. J.A. McLoghry is appointed Secretary. This was the very first meeting held in connection with the formation of the Chamber, and the first resolution is that of the appointment of a Secretary where the minutes record that it was:
“Proposed by: Mr. Arthur Jackson D.L.
Seconded by: Mr. Martin Downs and Resolved
That J.A. McLoghry be and is hereby appointed Secretary, pro-tem
The immediately following resolution is that of the subscription for the year ending the 31st of December 1923, set at £2.2s.0d and which the newly appointed Secretary is instructed to collect. It is not until the third resolution of the meeting that Mr. H. Campbell Perry is appointed the First President of Sligo Chamber after which the Secretary is instructed to write to the local banks inviting them to become members of the Chamber. The leading members instrumental in the formation of the Chamber were also members of Sligo Harbour Board. Mr. J.A. McLoghry was Secretary of the Sligo Harbour Board and well known to the architects involved in setting up the Chamber, most notably Senator Jackson who proposed his appointment, and by his attendance at the meeting, it must be assumed that agreement on the position of Secretary had been made in advance.
Although the first meeting of Sligo Chamber was held on the 15th of January 1923, it is not until the 25th of July that the Chamber’s formal registration as a company was completed. It was at the next following meeting, the First Statutory Meeting of the Sligo Chamber of Commerce (Incorporated) on the 21st of September 1923 held in the Dining Room of the Sligo Warehouse, (now Lyons Café), that a Resolution of the Council formally approving Mr. J.A. McLoghry as Secretary was read and confirmed.
Although the position of Secretary of Sligo Chamber was a part-time role, it was a paid position. However, it was fully two years after his initial appointment that the matter of salary was first raised. It was at the Chamber meeting of the 25th of January 1925, H. Campbell Perry, President, in the Chair, that the question of the Secretary’s remuneration was considered and “it was decided that he be paid a salary of £40 per annum to commence from the 1st of January 1925”. Subsequent meetings show that Secretary McLoghry was paid on a quarterly basis at the rate of £10.0s.0d per quarter. Expenses for stamps and for trips to Dublin were paid in addition to salary.
It is unclear whether Mr. McLoghry received any payment during the first two years until the salary was confirmed in 1925. He did retain his position as Secretary of the Harbour Board and so would have had an income from that source during that time. Acceptance of payment of salary on a quarterly basis is difficult to comprehend when viewed through a 2023 lens. What is perhaps more difficult to comprehend is that the agreed salary of £40.0s.0d per annum was later reduced significantly. This may have been due to difficult times during the war years. It could also have been an unforeseen consequence of the decision taken at the Chamber Meeting of the 1st of July 1935, D.M. Hanley, President, in the Chair, to abolish the Entrance Fee of £1.1s.0d and reduce the Annual Subscription from £2.2s.0d to £1.1s.0d, these being the only sources of income to the Chamber. Either way it is apparent from the records of the minutes that in 1941, Secretary McLoghry’s salary has been reduced to £25 per annum. It is then only after the Auditors Certificate and Statement of Accounts for 1941 show a credit balance of £41.2s.3d that the Minutes of the Chamber Meeting of the 31st of March 1942, D.M. Hanley, President, in the Chair, record that:-
“It was Proposed by: H.C. Lyons
Seconded by: T.J. Harrington
That the Secretary’s salary be increased from £25 to £35 per annum
Throughout all this time, despite the significant salary reduction, J.A. McLoghry continues to fulfil the duties of Secretary, recording all the Chamber activities in comprehensive detail, always maintaining the highest standards of penmanship. And it is only in 1946 at the Chamber Meeting of the 8th of October that the Secretary asks the Chamber to accept his resignation, “as he finds he has not the time to devote to the office of the Chamber”. The minutes record that the matter was deferred to the next meeting. However, the matter was not discussed at the next or indeed subsequent meetings and we have to wait two years until the Chamber Meeting of the 10th of June 1948, F. Nally, President, in the Chair, to read “The question of the appointment of a Secretary in room of Mr. J.A. McLoghry who is resigning was again discussed and it was decided to place an advertisement in the local papers inviting applications for a part-time secretary. Applications in writing, stating experience and salary expected to be considered at a General Meeting to be held on Tuesday the 29th inst. at 11.00am”.
A total of six applications were duly received for the position and the salaries asked for ranged from £50 to £130 per annum. Interestingly for the times, one of the applications was from a female and it was she who asked for the highest salary. Secretary McLoghry, being familiar with the accounts, appears to have had concerns about the Chambers ability to pay the salaries requested. He proceeds to give details of the financial position of the Chamber to the General Meeting of the 29th of June 1948, F. Nally, President, in the Chair, following which it was:-
“Proposed by: Michael Martin
Seconded by: J.A. Stevenson
That the annual subscription of the Chamber from 1st January 1949 be increased from £1.1.0 to £2.2.0”.”
An amendment was then proposed that the subscription be increased to £3.3.0. The amendment having been put to the 27 members present at the meeting, it was, on a show of hands, declared lost. The resolution for the increase to £2.2.0 was then put to the meeting and declared, on a show of hands, carried. It was then
“Proposed by: S. Bergin
Seconded by: J. Quirke and Resolved:-
That the salary for the position of Part-time Secretary be fixed at £52 per annum.
What HR and Employment Lawyers today in 2023 would make of what happened next could make for interesting legal argument. It was agreed that an election for the position of Secretary take place by secret ballot. The candidate obtaining over 50% of votes would be deemed elected, the election to proceed by elimination until a candidate obtains over 50% and is elected. The following four candidates were balloted for, (there is no mention of the other two candidates, one of whom was the sole female):-
Thos. A. Gaffney
Jas. E. O’Doherty
Mr. T. J. Hamilton, Incorporated Accountant, Teeling Street, Sligo, having obtained over 50% of the votes on the first count was declared duly elected Part-time Secretary of the Chamber as from the 1st July 1948 at a salary of £52 per annum. There then remained only for the President before closing the meeting to convey on behalf of the Chamber
“to the retiring Secretary J.A. McLoghry the best thanks of the Chamber for his services since its foundation in 1923.”
Two days later, in his final act for the Chamber, Secretary McLoghry writes to T.J. Hamilton informing him of his appointment and congratulating him. The original letter is in the Minute Book, signed “J.A McLoghry”.
Mr. McLoghry continued in his role of Secretary to Sligo Harbour Board, ultimately becoming Chairman of that Board. From the Mall in Sligo, he held the role of District Auditor of the Methodist Synod, had sporting interests being Honorary Treasurer of Sligo Anglers Association and a member of the Coursing Club. A master chess player, he was also Treasurer of the Lions Club. He continued to live at the Mall until he died in January 1966 at the age of 83.
It is perhaps fitting that the last words written by Mr. McLoghry, to whom we owe so much for the meticulous detail of the records of the first 25 years of Sligo Chamber, were words about himself.
Responding to the message of best thanks conveyed by the President for his services to the Chamber since its foundation in 1923, J.A. (John Allen) McLoghry signs off in his impeccable handwriting on the 29th of June, on this week in 1948 with the final words
“Mr. McLoghry returned thanks”.
Researched and written by Conor McCarthy
Supported by the Sligo Chamber Centenary Committee:
- Catherine Maguire – Admin & Photographic Research
- Geraldine Courtenay – Creative Direction
- Aidan Doyle – Review & Publication
The next Article in the series commemorating The Centenary of Sligo Chamber and entitled
“Membership and Subscriptions – An Ongoing Challenge” will be released on the 3rd of July 2023.
#Sligo Chamber Centenary