Date Released: 02 May 2013
Historic trade union banners and the Fintan Lalor pipe band led over 1,500 people on a sunny evening May Day march through central Dublin on Wednesday, 1st May.
Leading the SIPTU contingent, on the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) organised event, were ten historic banners created for the ITGWU by Dublin banner artist Jer O’Leary. The banners feature images of trade union leaders including Jim Larkin and James Connolly as well as images of the 1913 Lockout.
Along with colourful trade union delegations were members of the community group the Spectacle of Defiance dressed in costumes of the 1913 period and a moving version of the famous Jim Larkin statue brought to life by Equal Ireland.
Also in attendance was a sizeable ‘Youth Bloc’ of young activists with placards declaring, “We’re not leaving” and “end the lockout of young people” highlighting the devastating impact of emigration on Irish society.
Addressing the marchers at a rally outside Liberty Hall, DCTU President Mick O’Reilly, said the trade union movement was facing an “economic, cultural and political war.”
He added: “May Day is about solidarity. Now, more than ever, the trade union movement needs to stand together in solidarity to protect the interests not just of our members, but of all those who are bearing the brunt of continued austerity policies.”
A number of young trade unionists including Paul Dillon (Unite Youth Committee), Aoife Campbell (Y Factor) and Edel McKinley (Coalition to Protect the Lowest Paid) also addressed the crowd.
SIPTU Dublin District Committee secretary, John Dunne, said; “This year’s march was celebration of our trade union culture with the magnificent banners of SIPTU’s predecessor union, the ITGWU founded by Larkin and Connolly, on display.
“The theme of the march was 1913-2013 unfinished business. The ‘unfinished business’ includes legislation to ensure recognition of trade unions in all employments and negotiating rights for all members. It also refers to the creation of a fair and equal Ireland as envisaged by the founders of the trade union movement.”