In the last 20 years the Irish region has faced many challenges - the decline of the traditional industries, the emergence and then demise of the 'Celtic' tiger in the Republic, and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. All these have changed the landscape almost unimaginably in a couple of decades.
But the issues affecting Unite members have hardly altered at all. Job security, pay, equality and pensions are still central to the day to day struggles facing our class and our union. The advent of new technology has brought about new challenges: the decline of traditional industries and the emerging service economy has meant that the union has had to find new methods of recruitment and organisation in order to bring into the movement all workers including more women, disabled people and migrant workers.
As we face the challenges of the second decade of the 21st century, we find that what was once the unfettered advance of global capitalism has slowed dramatically, causing great hardship for many. In the face of these difficult times Unite will fight to ensure fair play, justice and equality for all its 100,000 members throughout the island of Ireland.
Jimmy Kelly, regional secretary