The 30th anniversary of the Dunnes Stores strike against apartheid is fast approaching. The TG4 documentary 'Blood Fruit' about the strikers premieres at the Town Hall Theatre as part of the Galway Film Fleadh. RTÉ Archives will launch a new exhibition next week telling the story of the dispute that began on 19 July 1984 when 21-year-old check-out operator Mary Manning was suspended from Dunnes Stores for refusing to handle South African grapefruit as part of a protest against the apartheid regime in the country.
Manning was following a union instruction passed on to her by shop steward Karen Gearon, who walked out of work in support of her. They were joined on the picket line by eight of their colleagues and would remain on strike for two years and nine months, until the Irish government implemented a nationwide ban on the importation of South African goods.
Doireann Ní Bhriain visited the picket in Henry St, Dublin for 'The Women's Programe'. In this report broadcast on 22 March 1985, strikers Sandra Griffin, Theresa Mooney, Karen Gearon and Tommy Davies tell her how it all started.
Strikers outside Dunnes Stores on Henry Street, Dublin (1984)