Press dispute over the Lockout
William Martin Murphy, proprietor of the Irish Independent and leader of the employers' federation. This caricature of Mr. Murphy was published in The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly in 1908. Photo: Image reproduced courtesy of Dublin City Public Library

Press dispute over the Lockout

Irish independent is accused of promoting a 'policy of hate' in its coverage of Dublin Lockout

Published: 19 September 1913

William Martin Murphy, the leader of the employers’ federation, has been accused by Alderman J.C. McWalter of Dublin Corporation, of being ‘the immediate cause of the present labour unrest’ in Dublin.

In a letter to today's Freeman’s Journal, Alderman McWalter said: ‘To me it is an amazing thing that a man, who, as President of the Chamber of Commerce, is bound, above all other men, to preserve the industrial peace and prosperity of the city, should seek to set these inflammable elements on fire – to stir up the angry passions of the mob with prophecies that they are beaten and must starve.’

Addressing Mr. Murphy directly, Alderman McWalter wrote: ‘What does it profit you if every worker went on his bended knees before you, candle in hand, and promised to renounce Larkin and all his works and all his pomps – if they go back to work with utter hatred in their hearts? I suggest to you that the quixotic notion that you have a divine mission to crush Larkinism or Syndicalism is simply mediaeval.’

William O'Brien's paper The Cork Free Press has been similarly critical of Mr. Murphy's newspaper, The Irish Independent, for the manner in which it has reported the Lockout dispute in Dublin.

Headline news: how William Martin Murphy's newspaper conveyed the dramatic events of August 31st in Dublin.
(Image: South Dublin Libraries)  

The Independent was accused by the Free Press of pursuing a ‘policy of hate’ in its journalism and that this is rooted in its response to the attempts of strikers to interfere with the sales of the paper: ‘It is extraordinary how dollars lie at the bottom of all these little squabbles.’

The attack in the Free Press came as the Independent reported yesterday: ‘Several cowardly attacks were made by processions of strikers on tramway cars yesterday, and the windows of several cars were smashed.’ The paper also predicted that ‘Larkinism is doomed.’

The general tenor of reports in the paper over the last month has been extremely critical of Jim Larkin, trade unionists and the strikers.

The diversity of the Irish newspaper industry: this is the list of titles ordered from Eason & Sons for use in the library of the Chief Secretary’s Office, Dublin Castle for the period 1 July – 30 September 1913. Click images to enlarge.
(Images: National Archives of Ireland, CSO RP 1913, 17991)

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