Almost uniquely in Irish consciousness, the 1913 Lockout is remembered and accessed almost exclusively through literature. The events and the legacy of 1913 are often difficult to interpret. In his seminal book, ‘Strumpet City’, James Plunkett takes the events of 1913 and weaves them into a format that is instantly accessible: the humble story.
Here is the Mural that has won the Sunday World’s Best Men’s Shed competition. The ’third man’ in the picture is Seán, whose Dad Jason Walsh-McLean was one of the main artists involved.
Jason says that when the organisation first acquired premises in Loughlinstown, County Dublin, “it was very dull, so we painted it. At the time I thought a mural would brighten the place up, despite never having done one before. Initially I was thinking of a football mural. But seeing as we have Shamrock Rovers and Boh’s fans in the Shed, not to mention two Rangers fans from Scotland and a load of Irish Celtic fans, we probably would never have been able to agree on what to do.”
The idea for a 1913 Lockout theme came after the group began holding a “FILM NIGHT” in the Shed and watched Strumpet City, the RTE drama about the 1913 Lockout, based on James Plunkett Kelly’s book of the same name that is now a number one best seller again.
“With so much unemployment in the country at present and the current recession it seemed very apt”, Jason says. “A lot of our members would be former tradesmen who are out of work. It is to them that we dedicate the mural.”
The Local Men’s Shed (Louhghlinstown/Ballybrack) has been going for two years. It recently won an award in the Dún Laoghaire/ Rathdown County Council’s Community Awards scheme, run an Irish Language class and a computer class, as well as trips to places of interest. The group hopes to move to larger premises in the near future “so that we can get involved in more projects”, Jason says.
Membership is €5 a year and is open to anyone living in the catchment area.
Meanwhile anyone who wants to see the Mural in all its splendour can find it at:
LBS Men’s Shed, 125A Cedar Court, Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin
1913 and Beyond
‘Fellow delegates, In presenting their report for the year just passed your Committee have again to express their regret that labour legislation is not advanced during the period under review to any appreciable extent, and to record a succession of serious disappointments is but to place before you the absolute truth’.
Thus Tom Johnson, with characteristic modesty and truth, opened the 1914 conference of the Irish Trade Union Congress on the Whit Monday of that year in Dublin City Hall. (The ‘and Labour Party’ suffix had yet to be added to the title page). It was a theme sadly familiar to participants, made all the more galling by the continuing close relationship between John Redmond’s Irish Parliamentary Party and the British Labour Party. The most important ‘disappointment’ had been the failure to have the National Health Insurance Act extended to Ireland. Even more galling was the decision of the British Labour Party in the aftermath of the Lockout to facilitate P J Brady, the Irish Party MP for the Stephen’s Green Division of Dublin City, in presenting a Bill to extend the Feeding of the Necessitous School Children’s Act to Ireland. Not only was the measure more restrictive than the English legislation but it allowed the Redmondites to claim credit for a measure repeatedly demanded by the ITUC and Irish female suffrage groups, which the IPP had previously opposed.
When Jim Larkin was elected President of the ITUC by acclamation that morning he did no more than voice the frustration of the whole assembly when he attacked the British Labour Party for ‘taking counsel with the Irish National Party on labour matters or on questions affecting the workers in Ireland over the heads of the representatives of the Irish Trade Union Congress’; especially as ‘these were the very men … whom in Ireland they had to fight as amongst their bitterest enemies’. Larkin had first made his protest at this policy the previous July, when he was part of the ITUC Parliamentary Committee delegation that met Labour MPs in the House of Commons. (more…)
On the History of the Larkin T shirt.
The SIPTU Solidarity with Cuba Forum and the Irish Friends of Cuba Coalition have been discussing ways of commemorating the solidarity shown to the Dublin Lockout members by British trade Unions who contributes extraordinary supplies of food and clothing aid as well as finance. It was felt that for the Centenary of the Dublin Lockout it would be appropriate to have a commemorative T shirt in a vivid colour depicting one of the central characters of the Dublin event Jim Larkin along with the 100 years of Struggle – to remind people that we still have not got collective bargaining rights in 2013.
The design was a joint effort between myself, Eira Gallagher and our supplier Val Bates and his design team> They also supplied us with the polo shirts and fleeces which carry a design including Che Guevara and the SIPTU Solidarity with Cuba Logo.
We sell stock at marginally above cost price and any monies raised go into the Forum account which supports a number of Cuban health and educational projects. We hope to make a sizable donation to these projects when the Forum group visit Havana in November 2013. The Cuban Coalition are examining ways of having closer ties between trade unions and political parties who support the Cuban ideal with a view to having an ongoing project in Cuba.
T-Shirts are €12.50c and can be ordered from KMCGINLY@tcd.ie
This extract from Pat Quigley’s new book ‘The Polish Irishman: The Life and Times of Count Casimir Makievizc (Liffey Press) gives a flavour of this beatifully written and unusual take on Bohemian Dublin in the years leading up to the Easter Rising. Colourful characters, arcane organisations and the dog taken prisoner of war in 1916 are just some of the gems, not to mention new pictures of Constance, Casimir and their coterie.
Dublin 1913 conjures up images of policemen rioting in O’Connell Street, strikers attacking trams, hungry people on the quays and tenements falling into the streets, but for the couple who lived in 49B Leinster Road, aka Surrey House, that January started much the same as any other. (more…)
Over three hundred and fifty people attended the service organised by the Dublin Dock Workers Preservation Society in St Laurence O’Toole’s Church on Saturday 20th April 2013. Included in the gathering were Emer Costello (MEP), Maureen O’Sullivan TD and Pascal Donoghue TD, Councillor Lucy McRoberts (representing the Lord Mayor), and Councillors Nial Ring, Christy Burke and Anna Quigley. Other participants included Jack O’Connor, General President of SIPTU and Charlie Murphy, representing the Dublin Port Company.
Dublin Port Communities celebrate those who have passed on
The arrival of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) as a new force of organised Labour was welcomed no-where more enthusiastically than in the Dublin Docks. In those early days it was the casual labourers, warehousemen and carters who first swelled its ranks and many of its earliest victories occurred here. The Dockland communities were witness to the birth of the new Irish trade union movement, and were participants in its greatest battle in 1913. It is most fitting that in the centenary year of the Great Lockout, that the first ever Service of Remembrance for all deceased Dublin Dockworkers should be held.
‘Hundreds of rioters advance on the two lone policemen in a darkened Finglas street, the only light coming from the windows of the pub.
‘The police retreat in the face of a barrage of stones and sticks hurled by the huge crowd; more stones are hurled at the pub shattering the plate glass windows. The two police take refuge around the corner of the pub but the crowd is still after them.’
Christopher Lee looks at a neglected episode of the 1913 Lockout.
The Dublin Dockers’ Preservation Society organised a procession and mass to commemorate dockers and their contribution to building the port and city.
On Saturday evening (April 20th, 2013) current and former dockers turned up in great numbers, with their families, to march down Seville Place to the church of St Lawrence O’Toole’s on Sherriff Street. The mass included an evening of remembrance, with song and reflections. This was followed by a Dockers photographic exhibition in the local Sherriff Street Hall. There was great support from local councillors and TDs, including Emer Costello MEP, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, Councillor Anna Quigley and SIPTU President Jack O’Connor.
John Lovett Memorial Lecture, University of Limerick 2013 by Padraig Yeates
1913 hasn’t gone away. Of all the centenaries we will be celebrating in the coming decade this is the one where re-enactment could supersede commemoration because the issues of collective bargaining, union recognition, workplace representation and industrial democracy are even more contested today than a hundred years ago.
The Lockout occurred because of a collision between an emerging native capitalist class personified in William Martin Murphy, President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the response from organised labour personified by Jim Larkin, General Secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU). Murphy was driven not just by the desire to make money and have untrammelled control of his enterprises, but by strongly held views on Irish nationality that were narrow and exclusive. Among those excluded from this vision were, of course, Larkin and his followers. (more…)