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‘Strike-breakers’ employed at Dublin Port
Disruptions are expected at Dublin Port with the arrival of more strike-breakers from Liverpool last night. Photo: National Library of Ireland, LROY 11590

‘Strike-breakers’ employed at Dublin Port

More than 200 men brought in from England

Published: 7 November 1913

More than 160 strike-breakers arrived by steamer from Liverpool last night, bringing the number now employed at Dublin Port to more than 200.

The men will begin work today and their first task will be to discharge the cargo of the sixteen large grain steamers that are currently moored in the port. The SS Wearwood – laden with 5,000 tons of malting barley shipped from the Black Sea for the Guinness brewery – is expected to be the first ship discharged.

The men were brought to Dublin on the Ella, arriving at Alexandra Basin at 7.30am, where the ship is now moored. No attempt was made to land the men during the day and they remained on the ship overnight. It is understood that the men will live on the ship for the duration of their stay in Dublin.

Large numbers of soldiers and policemen were present on the quays yesterday. Some were bringing necessary provisions to military barracks, while authorities pledged to use every measure to prevent interference with the strike-breakers.

A letter from the secretary of the Shipping Federation to Sir James Dougherty requesting 'adequate police protection' at Sir John Rogerson's Quay to protect a ship carrying imported labourers.
(Image: National Archives of Ireland, CSO RP/1913 5274)

As rumours swept the port that more men were being recruited in Liverpool and Manchester, no disturbances were reported. Despite a series of meetings held by union leaders in Liberty Hall, it is not yet clear how they will respond.

In speeches earlier this week, union leaders decried the introduction of strike-breakers. With Jim Larkin still in prison, James Connolly led opposition to the move.

At a speech at Liberty Hall, Connolly said that union men should picket, in battalions, any premises at which strike-breakers were employed. He also said that they were still out for peace, but if it was to be war, they were just as ready for that. Finally, Connolly predicted that the streets of Dublin might run red with blood, such was the anger at the use of strike-breakers.

Another union leader, P.T. Daly, criticised the fact that some labourers from north county Dublin were also taking the places of some strikers in the city. Daly said that such men were worse than Judas, for whereas Judas got thirty pieces of silver for his dirty job, the strike-breakers would only get twenty shillings.


Century Ireland

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