Obituary: Popular Italian who founded Shercock’s first factory

The Shercock-Killann community was saddened to learn of the death of Luciano Vergnano who passed away at the family home on Wednesday, October 6.

As the founder and former managing director of Tabetex Ltd, Luciano made a unique contribution to the industrial life of the area and will be remembered as the man who brought the first factory jobs to Shercock.

The Ireland of the late 1950s had a dismal economic outlook. Ravaged by emigration and the long-term effects of British Rule, as well as the inward looking policies of the new infant state, a fresh impetus and direction was badly needed. In 1958 one of the nation's greatest-ever civil servants, Ken Whitaker, had his programme for economic expansion finally accepted by the Irish Government. At its core was the need to stimulate industrial growth by attracting foreign investment and 'know-how' to our shores.

It was against this backdrop, that 23-year-old Luciano Vergnano arrived in Shercock in 1959. Tabetex Ltd, makers of tapestry and textiles, came into being the following year, starting production in a premises owned by the Burns family. Luciano always acknowledged the help of local school teacher and county councillor, Peter McCann, in the setting up of the new enterprise and serving in the role of interpreter for the young entrepreneur. Years later a new factory was built across the road from the original location, which still serves as a warehouse.

Luciano's main characteristic was the meticulous attention to detail that he brought to all aspects of his life. Every issue went through the wringer of his in-depth and highly-informed analysis, whether it related to work, the performance of his beloved Italian soccer team, or matters local, national or international. The results of that evaluation would be presented in detail to his listener, followed by the inevitable: 'Do you agree?' The wise listener would do well to nod in the affirmative.

Rooted in the community

At community level he served on the committee of the local national school and also as a member of the Lough Sillan Regatta Committee, always taking a deep interest in the welfare of the lake and its environs. Tabetex Ltd have been the main sponsors of Shercock Drama Festival from its beginnings in 1986 to the present day. Luciano, together with his sons and current directors Richard and Mark and staff members past and present have succeeded in keeping the looms rolling for all of 61 years. That achievement, in what is perhaps the most competitive industrial sphere of all, is a fine Legacy.

Luciano's requiem Mass was celebrated by Fr Thomas Quigley, PP, in St Patrick's Church Bawn, followed by a funeral service in Lakelands Crematorium Cavan.

Sympathy is extended to his wife Anne, sons Mark and Richard, daughters in law Anne and Michelle, granddaughter Sophia and the Vergnano family circle in his native Italy.