Bergin, Patrick (1913–91), trade unionist and republican, was born in Carlow on 6 February 1913, one of nine children of a railway signalman. His mother, an ardent republican and a devout catholic, came from a Co. Westmeath family of shopkeepers and small farmers. Having been educated at the local national school and Blackrock College, Dublin, Bergin returned to Carlow, where he took various jobs and attended the local technical school. In 1931 he commenced his apprenticeship as a sugar cook at the Carlow Sugar Factory, where he became an active trade unionist in the Irish Engineering, Industrial, and Electrical Union (IEIEU). Outside the factory he was an organiser of the Fianna and a member of the IRA; in 1934 he was appointed finance officer of the Carlow brigade. After the split in the republican movement in 1936 Bergin left the IRA and became a leading figure in the revitalisation of the Carlow trades council and, following a Pauline conversion in 1937, was instrumental in the building up of the Carlow branch of the Labour Party.
To the fore in organising the constituency's election campaigns, Bergin was himself elected to the Carlow urban council in 1945 and to Carlow county council in 1950. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the general election of 1948 in Carlow-Kilkenny. In 1950 a bitter dispute took place in the Carlow Sugar Factory between the Irish Sugar Company, the IEIEU, and the ITGWU. To exacerbate matters further, Bergin disagreed with the tactics employed by the national leadership of the IEIEU, and after the total collapse of the strike he moved to Dublin, where in 1951 he was appointed national organiser of the Labour Party.
Active in the formation and success of the Federation of Rural Workers and the Workers’ Union of Ireland, Bergin was a member of the seanad (1954–7), nominated by the taoiseach, and served on the management cooperative and editorial board of the Plough (1957–63). Thereafter he applied himself to the Labour Party in Dublin South East, where he was the director of elections for Noel Browne (qv) in the 1969 general election. In 1973 he was a founding member of the Irish Labour History Society, which he served as a trustee and honorary president. He contributed many articles and reviews to Saothar, Obair, and Labour History News, as well as participating in and advising on the television series ‘Workers’ lives', produced by George Gregg and Deirdre Dowling. Bergin died suddenly 16 April 1991 in Dublin and was buried at St Mary's cemetery, Carlow.