Newry.ie

I know Oliver White for over 10 years now. He is an example of person who really cares about his community and his environment he positively participates in it.

Let me get to know more about Ollie and his amazing work he does for others. Thank you Ollie for agreeing to meet up with me today. I don’t have to tell you but as for me your an absolutely “Hero”.The work you do it speaks for itself and shows it all.

DG: Could you tell me more about yourself? Where exactly are you from and tell me more about your family?

OW: Hi Daniel I'm 44 years old born and bred in Newry Co Down ( St John of God's hospital) I'm the 2nd eldest of 6 children 3 boys 3 girls reared in Dromalane - great community. I spent 26 years there before moving to the Armagh Road area. My mother was from Dromalane and her family and my father and his family were from Courtney Hill.

Ollie White with Dan Gebski

DG:What do you do for living and where do you work? Do you like your job and why?

OW:I have worked in Glen Electrics for the past 25 years and have been a shop steward now for 8 years its been a great place to work and have met some of my best friends through it again it's a community on its own 

DG :I hope you know this quote “Those who want to divide the workers have resorted to the foulest method”-James Larkin

I know you are involved in union and you have done a lot for the workers in your work place! Could you tell me why did you get involved in the union in the first place and what are your the biggest achievements so far?

OW: I got proposed as a shop steward by fellow workers after initially turning it down but accepted it in the end. My main focus was and is to secure the best standard of living for all our members and as part of a strong workforce union we negotiate good terms and conditions. Personally our best achievements is always securing pay deals, good ones that is, and also if you can help people out with advice. The worst part is if there are redundancies. We have went through 2 of them but fortunately for myself I wasn't a shop steward then. We have been on a few strikes in the 25 years I've worked in Glen it's always the last option but sometimes you are left with no choice but I have to say the last one was great it was organised perfectly and the Camaraderie was great on the picket line, like I said it's not were we want to be but sometimes you have no choice and the membership will instruct us and that's were we take our lead from. 

DG:We as Men all know that absolutely our own mothers are the most important thing in the life.I know you have lost your mummy a while back unfortunately. Can you open little bit on this?Could you tell me how did it affect you and your family? What would you say to all people out there, why is it important to respect our parents and especially our mothers?

OW: Yes Daniel my Mother died 4 years ago after suffering from a stroke she had taken 2 years before that I miss her every single day and that has been the hardest thing I personally had to face in my life and I think I can say that on behalf of my whole family and as you know just like the Irish family the Mother is the gel ( the strong one) that keeps everything together she's the one who fixes everything I'm still heartbroken over losing her. 

DG:I am not afraid to call you my friend.There are numbers reason for that.the one of them is this…I remember you stood many times against anti sectarian incidents happened in Newry towards foreign nationals.It was either on social media or in real life too.Why have you done it? Have you got many friends from other countries in Newry? 

OW:I can't stand sectarianism or racism in any shape or form Daniel as an Irish man that would go against everything I am and how I was brought up, I've a few people from different nationalities that I would class as my friends and you are one as Lisa my life partner and myself did attend your wedding day (and a great day we had) thank you. 

DG:Let us talk little bit about INF Foresters. People think only the Foresters club Newry it is only drinking club. Can you tell more what yous do? In fact I know The INF looking after their members families even after their death. Also could you tell about the involvement of INF members in Helping the homeless charity? Any other charities are you involved in?

OW: Yes you are right people would generally think it's a drinking club but it's much more than that we were founded on the broad principles of Unity Nationality and Benevolence we were set up at a time when there was no national health service and this was a way in helping our community today we still give death grants and sickness benefits to our membership, something similar to the credit union only they don't pay your sick. We are a non sectarian organisation and we regularly donate and raise money etc for local charities within Newry helping the homeless being one of our main charities that came about after I had proposed at a meeting that we should put out an appeal through our membership for clothes and food and we have been doing this ever since. Myself and Lisa have been to Dublin on the soup kitchens and it's just heartbreaking to see so much suffering and homelessness in our country those in power have a lot to answer for and should hang their heads in shame. Other charities we contribute to and believe in is the Irish language, the KBRT and Chest Heart and Stroke. From time to time we would help out others especially our members in times of hardship, and the Protestant Church next to us ( our neighbours) recently had its window smashed we made a cash donation to the restoration of it. 

DG:I am aware of that you and your life partner adopted child and you are the fosters parents since. Can you tell why is it important to do this amazing act of goodness?

OW: Ah we have become kinship Foster parents of our wee Grandchild Aoibh since Christmas it has brought so much happiness to all 3 of us and I'm just glad we can share our life with Aoibh and give her the best possible chance in life its very rewarding, she starts Naiscoil an Iur in September. 

DG:I know your two passions are running and hurling.Can you tell me why them two and any achievements?any other passions?

OW:They were my two main sports I played growing up unfortunately I gave up the hurling but I do run regularly more to keep fit rather than compete tho I've run a few half marathons and intend to run a few more I've won plenty of titles at the Ulsters and All Ireland's as a youth I'm also an avid Down supporter and Liverpool supporter for my sins. 

DG:What advise will you give to foreign nationals living in Newry? Will you encourage them to have a voice? And why would you do that?

OW: Well to get involved with the community you are part of it and never ever feel you are second class citizens because there's a lot of racism out there and that can be hard on the foreign national communities that saying its always a minority who are but its still too many if you ask me. 

DG:Who would be your Hero?

OW: There are two that stand out and that's my Mother and father it was they who made me who I am today and its they who I've always looked up to, on a historical note then it would be Bobby Sands and Muhammad Ali, two men who had principles and fought against injustices spoke out against them and in Bobby's case gave his life up for his comrades.

DG:Thank you for this great interview and I am glad you open on loads of important things which matters in life.Good health Ollie.Dan

OW:Thank you Dan.

 

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