James Larkin has become one of Irland’s most prolific labor organizers. Larkin founded the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union but fell apart following the Dublin Lockout. Larkin visited the United States but was deported. He continued his labor movement long into the 1940s.
James Larkin was born January 28, 1874 in England and grew up in the poor neighborhoods of Liverpool. Larkin did not receive a formal education and worked a variety of jobs as a youngster, eventually landing a job as a foreman at the Liverpool docks. James Larkin eventually became a trade union organizer in 1905.
The National Union of Dock Labourers did not approve of Larkin’s methods so they sent him over to Dublin in 1907 where he ended up launching the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union.
James Larkin gained notoriety for leading the 1913 Dublin Lockout, which saw over 100,000 workers go on strike for almost a whole year. The lockout was the most severe strike to ever hit Ireland. As a result of the strike, all three of the region’s newspapers painted Larkin as the antagonist.
In response to World War I, James Larkin held anti-war protests in Dublin and later traveled to America intending to raise money to fight against the British.
In the 1920’s he was found guilty of criminal anarchy and communism but later pardoned and sent back to Ireland. James Larkin has been memorialized through literature, music and even has a monument built in honor of him in Dublin.
Larkin attempted many times to run for office and actually won in the 1927 general election in Dublin North. James Larkin always helped the working class of Ireland whether through organizing protests for better pay or other methods. James Larkin was a hero to those in Ireland, especially within Dublin.
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