Big Jim Larkin spoke from the steps of the Custom House – a stone’s throw away from this new mural at Transport House in the city centre – in the early months of 1907, speaking on behalf of the dockers and other unskilled labourers, recruiting them to the National Union of Dock Workers, and ultimately organizing various strikes as part of what is now known as the ‘Belfast Lockout’, which stretched from April 26th to August 28th. Larkin was expelled from the NUDL and went on to form the Irish Transport & General Workers Union in 1909 and organize the Dublin Lockout in 1913. The rest of his history is equally dramatic, including arrest and imprisonment for ‘criminal anarchism’ in the US in 1919. (WP)
Here is an image of Larkin on the platform at a Belfast rally (mouse-over to enlarge), surrounded by workers wearing cloth caps.
Click and click again to enlarge (to full size)
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