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Murder of ‘free labourer’ in Dublin
A policeman on patrol on Eden Quay where, last night, 'free labourer' Thomas Harten was attacked Photo: National Library of Ireland, CLAR 73

Murder of ‘free labourer’ in Dublin

Man found lying in pool of blood on Eden Quay

Published: 18 January 1913

Thomas Harten, a ‘free labourer’, died last night after he was the victim of a brutal assault on Eden Quay in Dublin.

Mr. Harten was discovered lying in a pool of his own blood on the footpath at Eden Quay just before 11pm last night.

One of the two journalists who discovered the man dying in the street rushed into the Abbey Theatre and called the Central Fire Station for an ambulance. The ambulance brought the victim to Jervis Street Hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The left-side of his face had been beaten in and the base of his skull was fractured.

Despite the ferocity of this attack, this confidential report from February 1913 states that incidences of violence around the city were becoming less and less frequent and that most of the labourers who had been out on strike had, by this stage, returned to work. Click to enlarge. (Image: National Archives UK, CO 904 92)

Mr Harten, originally from Kells, Co. Meath, but living at accommodation provided for ‘free labourers’ now working for coal-merchants and shipowners in the city, was aged about 40 and was 5’7" in height.

He had been walking with a fellow workman, George Maguire, when both men were assaulted. Mr. Maguire escaped with minor injuries.

On searching Mr. Harten’s body, police found the sum of 16s 8d and a silver watch inscribed with his name, dated April 1911. They also found a pipe, a pocket knife and eight revolver cartridges, but no revolver.

The assault on Mr. Harten was one of a series of assaults on ‘free labourers’ in the north-inner city last night. After inquiries, police arrested a coal labourer named Thomas Daly, who lived at Gloucester Street, and charged him with the assaults.

On his arrest, Mr. Daly handed over possession of a six-chambered revolver with one undischarged cartridge in the magazine. The cartridge is of the same pattern as the cartridges found on Mr. Harten’s body.


Century Ireland

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