Who Was James Larkin?

James Larkin was born in 1874 and died in 1947, but he also serves as an important Irish historical figure. He was a labor organizer whom created the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Learn more about James Larkin: and

He was born in Liverpool, England but grew up in the slums and he worked a variety of jobs as a young man but became a dock foreman. Eventually, he became a trade union organizer full time in 1905 because he believed that workers were being treated unfairly, especially in the case of the dock workers.

The NUDL union he was working for were alarmed at the militant methods which Larkin was using to gain attention to the cause. After being transferred to Dublin, James Larkin formed the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union to combine all workers into one union whether they were skilled or not.

In 1913, Irish workers won the right to fair employment after the Dublin lockout where workers went on strike for eight months. Following this victory and in response to the outbreak of World War I, Larkin began a series of anti-war protests in Dublin. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Ireland Calling

He then traveled to the US in 1914 for the purpose of raising funds to promote the cause of Irish Independence, to only be deported from the US to England by then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1923.

James Larkin’s ITGWU marks the creation of the modern-day Irish Labor movement. Many of the basic labor protections that Irish workers have today date back to the ITGWU.

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