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Lockout deadlock: some strikers return to work
An Ernest Kavanagh cartoon depicting a cheery trade-unionist facing a rather dishevelled William Martin Murphy Photo: National Library of Ireland

Lockout deadlock: some strikers return to work

Union appeals for unity

Published: 15 October 1913

Reports from across Dublin suggest that a small number of striking workers have left the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union and returned to work.

In the city centre some striking carters have resumed working, while work has also resumed at Messrs. Patterson’s match factory.

In north county Dublin it is also being reported that some farm labourers have returned to their positions. This is claimed to have happened on farms owned by the Kettle families around Swords, the Early, Drangan and Long families in the same area, and the Corbally family at Rathbeal Hall.

Mr. P.J. Kettle, The Lees, Swords, said: ‘All the men practically are anxious to come back, and next week will probably find the greater part of them resigning from the union and at work again as usual. It’s the terror of the Red Hand crowd and fear of being molested that has kept them from doing so before now.’

Despite this prediction, there are also reports that strikers assembling in Swords remained steadfast in their resolve. Food parcels have been distributed amongst the strikers and their families, with the promise that more will follow.

A minute from the Strike Committee of the ITGWU, dated 15 October 1913, discusses the issue of food tickets for striking workers and their families. Click to enlarge (Image: National Library of Ireland, MS 7298)

The Irish Worker, the official organ of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, has issued an appeal to its members to stay united behind the strike.

In its appeal, the paper wrote: ‘The capitalists of Dublin are out for scalps; they seem bent on having them at all costs. The workers in Dublin must remember that with failure in this mighty effort for higher wages and the right of combination their future will be poor. Stand together as one man and victory will be yours.’

‘They may try and starve you and your families but they won’t succeed. They may have been accustomed to dealing with a lot of cowards and slavelings but now they have men to fight. The workers are no longer content to be spat upon under the heels of the capitalists, whose chief concern is dividend making.’

‘Let them resort to all the mean and shabby tricks of the brutes who dangle food in the eyes of starving people, but let them remember and know that freedom is one of God’s greatest gifts and well worth dying for.’


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.