Date Released: 02 September 2013
President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath on Saturday (31st August) at the statue of Jim Larkin, in O’Connell Street in Dublin, to commemorate the workers and their families who suffered during the 1913 Lockout.
The laying of the wreath on top of an image of the Starry Plough flag was the centre point of an afternoon of commemoration of the Lockout that included performances by singers, actors and community groups.
The performances brought to life the events of late summer 1913 in Dublin and in particular Bloody Sunday, 31st August, when police baton charged striking workers resulting in the deaths of James Nolan and John Byrne.
To the roaring enthusiasm of the crowd of up to 5,000 people, that included around 200 in early 20th century attire representing the workers of 1913, actor Jer O’Leary reenacted ITGWU leader Jim Larkin’s speech of Bloody Sunday, 1913.
“The bosses of Dublin are using starvation as their weapon, but they will fail as all tyranny will fail.
“The hunger that we have awakened will not be satisfied by bread alone,” he told the crowd before being “arrested” by two members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police.
There was then a reenactment of the infamous baton charge as the crowd cheered on the strikers in period dress and a horse drawn Dublin fire brigade ambulance collected the injured.
Other performances included songs by Ciara Sidine and Jimmy Kelly; a reading from Strumpet City by actors Bryan Murray and Angela Harding, the central actors in RTÉ’s original dramatisation of the book and dramatic excerpts from ANU Productions’ Living the Lockout and the Risen People.
Among those in attendance were relatives of James Larkin and James Connolly, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisín Quinn, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn. SIPTU General President Jack O’Connor, ICTU General Secretary, David Begg and ICTU President John Douglas led trade union leaders in placing a wreath at the statue of James Larkin.