Monday 11 December 2017

December 1913

2 December Seventy ITGWU dockers return to work and unload the Antiope, which had been strike-bound for 10 weeks. It contains grain for Shackleton's mill in Lucan, the first company to lock out its workers.

4 December New talks begin between TUC, employers and the Dublin strike committee, but the employers insist on meeting with the TUC separately from local union leaders. The employers refuse to give any guarantees that all workers will be re-hired and want guarantees from the TUC that it will not assist unions that misbehave.

6 December The TUC team brings Dublin unions and employers together for one last attempt to resolve the dispute. The TUC publishes figures demonstrating how much help has been given to the ITGWU to counter Larkin's accusations of lack of support. They show 15,000 workers in Dublin were being supported by TUC funds, of whom almost 13,000 are ITGWU members.

9 December The special delegate conference of the TUC opens in London. It quickly becomes a personalised clash between Larkin and his opponents on the TUC. A proposal to boycott the handling of all cargo involving firms with locked out workers was defeated. The outcome represents a significant repudiation of the sympathetic strike strategy.

10 December Connolly addresses striking railwaymen in Dublin. They agree to stay out a little longer.

12 December Connolly phones Ernest Guinness and asks if he will take back boatmen dismissed in October for refusing to handle 'tainted' goods. Guinness refers the case to his father, Lord Iveagh, and says the situation is 'very hard on the [dismissed] men', but Lord Iveagh decides against reinstatement, believing they must serve as an example.

16 December Five thousand men march from Liberty Hall by various routes to Croydon Park and about one thousand are drilled by Captain Jack White before marching in review past Larkin and Connolly (pictured on the new stamp An Post have issued, inset below). That night in Beresford Place Larkin says 'scabs' were not the only ones who could carry revolvers through the streets.

17 December A Joint Labour Board delegation arrives for a last attempt to resolve the dispute.

18 December Talks resume with employers in the Shelbourne Hotel while a few streets away serious shooting incidents occur. In one of them a leading ship broker, John Holwey, vice-chairman of the Dublin Port and Docks Board, is shot accidentally by a strike-breaker as he passes an affray on Poolbeg Street. He is not seriously injured.

19 December Direct contributions to the Dublin Trades Council strike fund rise from £1,125 for the whole of November to £1,700 in the next two weeks, but it is no substitute for the £10,000 a week that had been coming from the official Labour movement.

20 December Talks between the TUC and employers collapse. Two strike-breakers are arrested after firing into a crowd on Sheriff Street.

22 December The TUC ships £9,009 8s 9d worth of food to Dublin for the Christmas holiday period. The shipment is accompanied by James Seddon, one of Larkin's principal targets in his attacks on the TUC. Seddon plans to spend Christmas in Dublin distributing food.

23 December Bailiffs try to evict Larkin's family from their rented home at 27 Auburn Street. Solicitors for the ITGWU obtain a stay of execution. Most strikers' families are now living on 4s or 5s a week. Meanwhile, the city-centre shops bulge with luxury Christmas goods.

25 December The Christian Union feeds 550 men and women, the Mendicity Institution 1,000 men and the ITGWU throws a giant Christmas party for 5,000 strikers' children at Croydon Park with the assistance of James Seddon.

Trams running on Christmas Day are stoned on the High Street and a policeman is thrown into the Liffey after scuffles between strikers and the police.

29 December Two hundred workers at the Morgan Mooney fertiliser plant in the Alexandra Basin become the first large contingent of ITGWU manufacturing workers to abandon the strike. However, Larkin has managed to ensure they return on their old pay and conditions.

January 1914

4 january The ITGWU buries its latest martyr, Alicia Brady, the locked-out 16-year -old Jacob]s factory worker had contracted tetanus from her ricochet gunshot wound after a strike-breaker opened fire on a crowd on 18 December. She died on New Year's Day.

5 january Nominations close for the Dublin municipal elections. Ten Labour or Larkinite candidates are nominated along with Walter Carpenter as a Socialist Party of Ireland candidate. The Dublin Strike Committee now pins its hopes on winning seats to achieve a breakthrough in the dispute. The revelation that many sitting councillors are slum landlords is a further boost to the Labour campaign.

7 january The Parliamentary Committee of the TUC finds there is only £1,500 in hand for the Dublin strike fund and writes to William O'Brien, treasurer of the Dublin strike committee, informing him that 'remittances for this week would be the only ones that could be forwarded to meet the strike pay of the Dublin workers unless the rank and file responded more generously than at the present time'. Food shipments continue until February.

14 january Polling day in the municipal elections.

15 january When the votes are counted, the Larkinites secure 12,026 votes to 16,627 for the Nationalists (Irish Party), but only win one seat. Nevertheless, the Larkinites came within 150 votes of winning four seats.

16 january A convoy of coal carts belonging to Heiton & Company is attacked by a mob on Abbey Street. Five free labourers are dragged from the vehicles and beaten 'unmercifully'. The beatings only stop when a strike-breaker fires shots.

17 january Two free labourers, Thomas Harten and George Maguire, leave the safety of the Employers' Federation House at 2 Beresford Place to go for a drink. They are attacked on the quays. Harten is kicked to death and Maguire badly beaten. The Dublin Employers' Federation offer £100 reward for information leading to apprehension of the culprits. Police charge Thomas Daly, an unemployed coal labourer, with Harten's murder. He is already facing assault charges over attacks on two other 'scabs'. The murder case against him quickly collapses, but he is given two years on the assault charges. By contrast, strike-breaker Patrick Traynor, the man whose shot resulted in the eventual death of Alice Brady in front of numerous witnesses, is acquitted. James Lewis, who shot John Hollwey, is found guilty of grievous bodily harm but released on his own recognisances and allowed to return home to Wales.

18 january Strikers gather at Croydon Park where Larkin advises them to go back to work on the best terms available. His one injunction to them is not to sign the form renouncing the ITGWU. The next day 1,000 dockers try to return to work, but only half are taken back.

19 january The SS Hare brings one of the final food consignments to Dublin. Huge queues gather outside Liberty Hall next morning for food tickets.

21 january The TUC Parliamentary Committee tells Larkin and fellow Dublin strike leaders that no further material aid would be forthcoming. There are violent clashes in the city.

23 january The collapse of the Lockout overshadows the mayoral election on Dublin Corporation. William Partridge launches a ferocious attack on the re-elected Mayor, Lorcan Sherlock, for his betrayal of Dublin's workers. Sherlock's response is: "Who would believe that anything I could have done would move Mr William Murphy?"

27 january The annual general meeting of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce gives a vote of thanks to William Martin Murphy on his presidency and commissions William Orpen to paint his portrait.

There are queues outside Liberty Hall for strike pay, but the only help available is some food parcels and one-way tickets to Glasgow, which about 100 ITGWU members avail of.

31 january The United Building Labourers' Union members return to work and agree to sign pledges renouncing the ITGWU.

16 FEBRUARY The report of the Commission on the Dublin Disturbances is published and is branded "a whitewash exercise." It praises the police for their "conspicuous courage and patience".

18 FEBRUARY The Local Government Board of Inquiry into the Housing Conditions of Dublin's Working Class is published and is unsparing in its description of the social crisis in the capital. It names the slum landlords on the corporation.

1 JUNE Larkin is elected president of the Irish Trade Union Congress. He tells delegates, "The employers know no sectionalism. The employers gave us the title of 'the working class'. Let us be proud of the term... Let us be comrades in the true sense of the word and join with our brothers the world over to advance the cause of the class to which we belong."


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