A West Cavan Memory – One man who strove to make a difference at a difficult time

Written by Pat (‘Mickey Oiney’) McGovern

DURING the years post World War II west Cavan communities, in particular Glangevlin, were struggling to eke out a living. Employment was non-existent. Emigration for those able to avail of it was the only option.

In Glangevlin Terry McManus made herculean efforts to break the mould. He initially did a milk round in Manorhamilton Creamery and jointly managed a general grocery store with his wife, even eventually opening a second general store.

Being enterprising and well aware of the pressing need to create employment, he somehow secured contracts for wooden boxes to wholesale firms, mainly in Dublin. He quickly had a building constructed and the necessary equipment installed.

He employed about 20 people on various tasks – maintaining equipment in working order, obtaining raw material and delivering the finished product. This enterprise resulted in an injection of much needed cash in the community as well as giving people a sense of purpose and confidence.

Having his business on a regular footing, he turned his attention to politiecs in an effort to help the community. Being up against the established parties he chose the only option – standing as an independent. He failed narrowly to secure a seat. Sitting councillors enjoyed a strong party support, despite having a poor work ethic in relation to the community.

Had Terry been successful in gaining a seat he would certainly have stretched the boundaries to extremes in his efforts to help the community.

After some fruitful years his business ran into difficulties due to various factors – increased overheads, increased competition and more significantly his total preoccupation with consolidating his business, coupled with his trusting nature meant that in common with other enterprises, there was less than adequate supervision of stock. Had a government grant been available it would have been a major help.

Finding his business gone, Terry did not give up, as he had a family to raise. Displaying his resilience and survival instincts from his upbringing on the lower slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain, he secured a pony and trap and went around with a travelling shop. He also acquired two sows and in time had a small productive pig unit.

I believe that men of his calibre pass this way once, which leaves us to ponder on what might have been.

“May his eternal reward be in recognition of his life”.

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