The working committee that meets up every year to arrange the Liverpool event to remember the dead, and fight for the living which takes place at Mann Island every year, decided to pay tribute to Tony Mulhearn for his life-time of trade unionism and the support he always gave to the 28th April annual remembrance of those who tragically and avoidably have lost their lives whilst going about their normal workplace duties.
Tony sadly passed away at the age of 80 at home on Monday, 7th October last year. He was 80 years old and had been suffering from the devastating and irreversible lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
He was a printing compositor by trade and was president of the Liverpool District Labour Party.
As well as being life-long trade unionist, Tony became a controversial figure during the 1980s when, as a coucillor he and 46 other councillors decided to stand up to the Thatcher Government's attack on Local Councils across, predominantly Labour run councils; which many see as having bankrupted Liverpool.
The fact is that it was Thatcher's policies that created that situation, and several Labour Councils in the North had also agreed to take the same action that Liverpool did, but in the event they all caved in to Thatcher's demands; except for Liverpool City Council.
Whilst the Thatcher years were particularly bad for Liverpool, it was central government which singled Liverpool out for 'managed decline' and Tony and his colleagues knew that of course.
Irrespective of the eventual outcome, Tony Mulhearn stuck to his principles and continued to fight for working people within his own trade union and in the wider trade union movement.
In later years he was he was vice-chair of, and the media and publicity officer for, the Merseyside Pensioners Association, and a good friend of the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support group
A friend and colleague wrote a tribute to him in answer to some of the critical comments in the Liverpool Echo on the day of his funeral:
"Tony was a workmate, a fellow trade unionist and a fellow member of the Labour Party. I knew the man behind the headlines and gossip, and let me tell you, he was a man of great principle, integrity and moral values. I simply won't sit back with my arms folded and say nothing, while ignorant people slander his good name."
His last major event he attended was earlier last year at the IWMD 2019 event in Liverpool where he made this contribution partly in response to a presentation by a representative of the FBU, Mark Rowe.
He praised the event taking place, the FBU speaker and organisers of the IWMD2019 event in Liverpool and the work of trade unions in protecting people at work. He attacked the politicians and employers who put profit before the health & safety of their employees. In doing so he called for the election of Labour Government and for a change in the capitilist system that sees the need ofr H&S regulations as being mere 'red tape'.
Despite beign breatheless, Tony delivered his comments with the same passion and clarity he has always done thorought his life: