Date Released: 11 May 2016
SIPTU presented ‘Prisoners Books’ concerning over 30,000 people arrested by the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) between 1905 and 1918 to the Garda Síochána at a ceremony in Liberty Hall, Dublin, this morning (11th May).
The files, which cover arrests related to such historic events as the Dublin Lockout of 1913, the outbreak of the First World War, the Easter Rising and its aftermath and the conscription crisis of 1918, have also been published online by the University College Dublin (UCD) Digital Library.
Prior to presenting the DMP Prisoners Books to Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, said: “These books provide invaluable information on life in Dublin during this turbulent period. All human life is here as they say, rebels, thieves, embezzlers, army deserters, a growing category as the First World War progressed, confidence tricksters and of course looters in 1916. Naturally, one of the periods of particular interest to trade unionists is the Lockout of 1913.”
Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan said the DMP prisoner registers “provide a fascinating window into our past and offer great insight to a period when many of the old certainties were unravelling. They will be a valuable resource for anyone studying social, labour or political history in Ireland.”
SIPTU Historical Consultant, Padraig Yeates, said the books provide new perspectives on the revolutionary period, “For instance, one thing that immediately jumps out is the presence of British army soldiers in these records and the absence of insurgents. Over a quarter of all men arrested in Dublin in 1916 were soldiers, mainly absentees and deserters.”
Announcing the publication of the records by the UCD Digital Library, UCD Librarian, Dr. John B Howard, said: “The DMP Prisoners Books are among the most valuable new documents to come to light concerning the revolutionary decade. They include important information on social and political life in the capital during the last years of the Union. They will also be invaluable to those interested in criminology, genealogy and family history.”
The Prisoner Books went missing when the DMP was abolished in 1924. They recently came into the possession of SIPTU after being discovered during a house refurbishment.
View the collection online at http://digital.ucd.ie/view/ucdlib:43945.