News Archive

Church Street tenement collapse remembered

Date Released: 03 September 2013

The seven people who died in the collapse of two tenements buildings in Church Street, Dublin, during the 1913 Lockout were remembered on Monday, 2nd September.

Speaking today at a ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery at the graves of the victims of the disaster the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oísin Quinn, described the collapse of the tenements as the worst single tragedy of the Dublin Lockout
 
Quinn said, “Following on Bloody Sunday 1913 the starkest and most tragic event was the collapse of 66 and 67 Church Street less than 48 hours later.”
 
Those killed were Eugene Salmon (17), Elizabeth Sammon (4), Nicholas Fitzpatrick (40), Elizabeth Fagan (50), John Shiels (3), Peter Crowley (6) and Margaret Rourke (55). Eugene had been locked out at Jacob's Biscuitfactory and ran into the crumbling tenement in an unsuccessful attempt to save his sister.
 
ICTU Assistant General Secretary Sally Anne Kinahan said, “There was a direct link between the appalling housing conditions in Dublin, some of the worst in Europe at the time, and the low wage economy. Unskilled workers, who made up over a quarter of the adult male population, could no more afford decent housing than adequate food and clothing for their families. The high infant mortality rates in particular, from preventable diseases, can be traced directly to the filthy, insanitary conditions in which at least 20,000 families were consigned to live.
 
She added: “The fight by Jim Larkin and the Irish Transport and General Workers Union for the right to collective bargaining was a strategy of self-help to secure a greater share of the fruits of their labour. The issue is as alive today as it was then. Once more we are seeing those in vulnerable, low paid occupations being locked out of decent employment and, consequently, a decent life for their families and themselves. The Government initiative tointroduce new legislation on collective bargaining, as promised in the Programme for Government, is very much to be welcomed as the key that can unlock this strategy of exclusion to which so many of our citizens are subjected.”
 
UCD Histroian, Mary McAuliffe, outlined the events organsied by the Smithfield and Stoneybatter People’s History Project to commemorate the Church Street disaster on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th September.
 
Mark Toner, Pipe Major Dublin Fire Brigade, played a lament at the gravesides.
 
Chruch Street disaster Commeomration events
 
Friday, 6th September:
 
6.30 p.m. – Walking Tour – meet at the Larkin Statute in O’Connell St


8.00 p.m. – Pamphlet Lunch and Social (Venue - Cobblestone Pub, Smithfield) –
            Speaker - Jacinta Prunty, author of Managing the Dublin Slums, 1850-1922.
            Music by Lynched


Saturday, September 7th:


5.00 p.m. –     The story of the Church St Tenement Collapse (Venue, Capuchin Day Centre, Bow St., Smithfield)
            Speaker – Christiaan Corlett, author of Darkest Dublin             Followed by Social in the Cobblestone Pub, Smithfield
 
Admission to all events is free
 
 


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