"My granddad would have been be so proud! To be honored by the Irish Echo as one of their Labor 50 - along with John Sweeney, Larry Hanley, Mary Kay Henry, Terence O'Sullivan, my pal Tom Paine Cronin and the Dropkick Murphys, among many others! It will sure be a fun evening!"
The Irish Echo Online: A salute to labor
September 22nd, 2011
The Irish Echo this week pays tribute to the U.S. labor movement, its past, present and future, and in particular honors 50 Irish Americans who make up our inaugural Irish Labor 50.
Throughout the history of this country, Irish Americans, those born in Ireland and in the U.S., have been constantly in the front lines of labor's cause and this is no less the case today with many of the labor movement's most prominent leaders drawing inspiration from their Irish
The long line of Irish labor rights pioneers includes Mother Jones, Mike Quill, and Teddy Gleason and, in recent years, leaders such as John Sweeney and Terry O'Sullivan, international president of LIUNA, the laborers' union.
O'Sullivan is a guest speaker from among the 50 honorees at a celebration being held tonight at Harbour Lights in Manhattan's South Street Seaport.
The main guest speaker at the event will be Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams who will deliver an address to the sold out gathering on the historical bonds and common causes shared by the labor movements in Ireland and the United States.
Some of you were lucky enough to go to Ireland with me on one of the seven tours arranged by Tom Pigott of Enchanted Way tours. It is with great sadness that I report Tom's untimely death on February 4th, 2012 while on an Irish-themed Caribbean cruise. Tom suffered a massive heart attack, and died almost instantly. He was loved by many, and his voice will be greatly missed.
I was introduced to Tom by wonderful Wisconsin singer/songwriter Johnsmith, whose eulogy appears below. I'll always be grateful to John for giving me the chance to meet and work with Tom.
Tom and I were as close as any brothers. We shared our deepest and darkest secrets, our wounds as well as our joys. We made countless memories that will last beyond this lifetime. We met one May day in Limerick at Tim's pub on Thomas St. where I was booked to sing a show. Tom was a lover of songs and, thankfully a few of my songs found their way into his heart and he booked me a few more times and we become fast friends. 8 years ago several of my fans asked if they could tag along on one of my trips to Ireland. I asked Tom to be my partner and that was the humble beginning of our tours which grew into Enchanted Way Tours, named by Tom after a line in the timeless song 'Raglan Road'.
God knows, his life was 'not all roses', he fumbled through his life as human as any of us, in all its messiness and beauty. Often it's said at the end of one's life, did they make a difference? No question Tom Pigott had a massive impact on me as well as countless others on both sides of the sea.
You will always be in my heart Tomas. I'll see ya one day in the great blue yonder and we'll sing a round of 'Good Night Irene' to shake the heavens. Love, John.
By: John Smith
Rest in peace Tom