Lockouts, Lockdowns, Inquests and Protests: How the week unfolded
A show of hands at the labour demonstration in O'Connel Street on the 7th September. Photo: Illustrated London News [London, England], 13 September 1913

Lockouts, Lockdowns, Inquests and Protests: How the week unfolded

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Published: 11 September 1913

Labour troubles continued in Dublin this week. More and more companies have begun to lock out their workers for refusing to leave James Larkin's Irish Transport and General Workers' Union and the dispute does not seem to be settling down anytime soon. This timeline traces the developments of the past week, September 3rd to 9th.

September 3rd

4pm: James Larkin appears in court. Large crowd, including a number of MPs in attendance. Police evidence dominates proceedings. Larkin remanded to custody.

6pm: It is reported that 400 of the leading employers in Dublin have met. The meeting was chaired by William Murphy and adopted a resolution that asserted that the ITGWU was a menace, and that none of the employers would hire or keep in their employment members of that union. If the employers pursue this line it will result in a lock out of workers across the city.

10pm: Thousands of strikers and their supporters have attended a meeting this evening at Beresford Place. Those gathered were addressed by Mr McPartland, President of the Dublin Trades’ Council who stated that the workers were not frightened by the employers threats of a lock out.

Jim Larkin, still in disguise, being led away by police outside the Imperial Hotel.
(Image: Bureau of Military History 1913-1921, Military Archives)

September 4th

10am: Reports are emerging that the London and North West Railway Company, which controls rail and steamer traffic in and out of Dublin’s North Wall, has dismissed 110 workers. The quayside is now under police protection. The dismissal appears to have been provoked by the refusal of workers to handle goods from the Jacob’s factory which were bound for London. The Jacob’s workers have been locked out since the weekend, and the railway workers were acting in solidarity with them.

7pm: It is reported that John Byrne, age 55 and a labourer residing at 4 Gloucester Place, has died of injuries he sustained when he was struck by a police baton during Saturday’s disturbances in the city. Mr Byrne is the second man to have died as a result of the weekend’s violence.

September 5th

4pm: The Northern Police Court has this afternoon heard from three civilians residing at 9 North Gloucester Place and claim that they were the victims of police assault during the weekend’s disturbances. Mr Henry Hunt, BL, acting as magistrate, stated that further investigation was required, and issued a number of summonses against policemen who must now appear at a future date to answer the charges.

5pm: It has emerged that the Building Trades Employers Federation has called a meeting for early next week where they will vote on a resolution to lock out all members of the IGTWU. Members of the Federation are some of the biggest employers of unionised labour in the city.

The headquarters of the ITGWU.  (Photo: National Library of Ireland, KE 202)

September 6th

10am: The Inquest has been held into the death of John Byrne, who allegedly died as a result of injuries received when he was struck by a police baton last Saturday. He had initially gone to Jervis Street Hospital where he was treated for a head wound, before returning home at 10pm. He told his wife he had been struck by a country policeman while he stood outside of Ryan’s Public House on Burgh Quay. He then went to bed, and lost consciousness during the night. He never awoke, and died at around 6 pm on Thursday evening. Medical evidence recorded that Mr Byrne had what appeared a superficial head wound, but he had in fact suffered a fractured skull which had led to a considerable laceration of the brain. Dr Louis Byrne, City Coroner, instructed the jury that while there were allegations that Mr Byrne had been struck by a police baton, there were no witnesses to that attack at the Inquest, and that they could only offer a verdict on the medical reasons for why the deceased died rather than speculating on how the injury had been caused. The jury recorded that death had been caused by a fracture of the skull and haemorrhage.

September 7th

10am: John Byrne, who was killed as a result of a head injury sustained during last weekend’s disturbances, has been buried at Glasnevin Cemetery. His funeral was attended by a large crowd, and a number of bands were in attendance. It is estimated that 10,000 mourners were present at the funeral.

1pm: A large meeting of strikers and their supporters has begun in O’Connell Street. The meeting was organised to reassert the right of free speech, and to support the freedom to belong to a trade union. In addition to a large number of Irish union leaders, a number of delegates from British trade unions were also present to show their support.

2pm: 3,000 people have gathered in Trafalgar Square to show their protest against ‘the murderous  outrages by the police in Dublin. The speakers, including Ben Tillet, demanded an enquiry into the whole affair and the immediate dismissal of Lord Aberdeen as Lord Lieutenant  of Ireland.

4pm: It has been announced by John Ward, MP, that the Dublin trade unionists have agreed to appoint representatives who will meet the employers. It is hoped this meeting, which will take place in the next few days, will find a way to resolve the current industrial unrest.

John Byrne's wife and daughter. The inquest into his death found that his death was caused by a fracture of the skull and brain haemorrhage. It declined to speculate as to how these injuries were caused.
(Photo: Courtesy of the Irish Capuchin Provincial Archives)

September 8th

9am: To ensure the safe passage of goods across the Irish Sea and on their railways, the London and North Western Company, have brought in a force of their own railway policemen from across England to work on the Dublin quayside.

10am: The industrial dispute is having an effect on the supply of goods to the market place. This morning the price of a ten stone bag of coal was increased from 1s 6d to 3s.

12pm: It has been revealed that union leader James Connolly, currently serving a three month sentence in Mountjoy Prison, has gone on hunger strike in protest at his imprisonment. There has been no attempt made to date to force feed him in the two days since he began his protest. As the hunger strike is against prison rules, Mr Connolly will no longer be allowed to receive visitors, will not be provided with a newspaper and will be forbidden from receiving or sending letters. 

6pm: Representatives of the employers and the trade unions have been in discussions at the Shelbourne Hotel. Although the talks have gone on for many hours, and were visited by the Lord Lieutenant at one stage, there is no news of any resolution to the dispute.

9pm: It has been reported that talks between employers and unions have now broken up. It has been agreed that the two sides will meet in a week’s time for further talks.

September 9th

9pm: A meeting held at the Mansion House, and presided over by the Dublin Lord Mayor, has agreed to start a public fund to support the families of James Nowlan and John Byrne, who died as a result of the injuries they received in recent disturbances.

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