PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND
PREAS RÁITEAS THAR CEANN ARD-MHÚSAEM NA hÉIREANN
9th October 2013
Exhibition Openings- 1913 Lockout: Impact & Aftermath, Banners Unfurled and Lockout: The Tapestry
at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History,
Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Dublin Lockout of 1913, Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht will open three new exhibitions, 1913 Lockout: Impact & Aftermath, Banners Unfurled and Lockout: The Tapestry, at the National Museum of Ireland on Thursday 10th October.
The exhibition 1913 Lockout: Impact & Aftermath draws on objects from the Museum’s own collections to tell the story of the Lockout. It documents life in Dublin in 1913, the key players and events surrounding the Lockout and its aftermath as well as the formation of the Citizen Army, the women’s suffrage movement and the rise of trade unions. Central to the exhibition will be the original Starry Plough flag which made its first appearance with the Irish Citizen Army in April 1914 in Dublin. The flag then flew over the Imperial Hotel on O’Connell Street during the 1916 Rising. It will be displayed here for the first time in 25 years after recent conservation funded by the members of the Labour Party. The exhibition will also include the Larkin Banner, on loan from the Irish Labour History Society. This exhibition will run until the end of June, 2014.
At the same time, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ 1913 Commemoration Committee will be hosting two temporary exhibitions at Collins Barracks. The first, entitled Banners Unfurled consists of replicas of 18 guild and trade union banners. The second, Lockout - the Tapestry displays the tapestry commissioned in 2012 by SIPTU and the National College of Art and Design from artists Kathy Henderson and Robert Ballagh. The 30-panel tapestry, creating a visual narrative of the 1913 Lockout, was made by voluntary groups and their work. Banners Unfurled and Lockout – The Tapestry will be on display until 14th November, 2013.
Minister Jimmy Deenihan commented: “The 1913 Lockout was a moment of great importance in Irish history. It was also a very significant milestone in that momentous decade (1912 to 1922) which saw Ireland move through the Home Rule crisis and the Lockout to the 1916 Rising and, eventually, the establishment of the Irish State. I look forward to working with the National Museum, and all the cultural institutions, on commemorations of the landmark events in Irish history that took place during that momentous decade.”
Speaking at the event Joe O’Flynn, Chairperson of Congress’s 1913 Lockout Commemoration Committee, said today’s trade union movement needed to complete the task which commenced in 1913.
“James Larkin and the thousands of working men and women who were involved in the 1913 Lockout were focused on achieving decent treatment and fairness at work and, ultimately, social justice and equality. Critical to the events of 100 years ago was the right of workers to organise through their union and to collectively bargain with their employers. This is an issue that has yet to be resolved, along with the timeless pursuit of decent work, social justice and equality. It’s important that we, in this generation, pledge ourselves to complete the campaign started by our forebears 100 years ago,”
Commenting on the exhibitions, Raghnall Ó Floinn, Director of the National Museum said “We are delighted to present this suite of exhibitions to commemorate the events of the Dublin Lockout. It represents collaboration with external partners including the 1913 Committee and SIPTU. I would like to acknowledge in particular financial support from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.”
The above exhibitions are open to the Public from Friday 11th October 2013.
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Notes to Editor –
• Photography from the launch will be available from Photocall Ireland
• The Dublin 1913 Lockout was about union recognition and the right to collective bargaining. The Dublin Employers Federation and Chamber of Commerce set out to destroy Jim Larkin’s nascent Irish Transport and General Workers Union. A strike by ITGWU members at the Dublin United Tramway Company on August 26th led to them being locked out. Disturbances followed leaving three workers dead and hundreds injured in clashes with the police, culminating in Bloody Sunday, August 31st. Dublin employers now demanded that all workers renounce the ITGWU. Some 25,000 workers were laid off. There was widespread condemnation of the employers and police in Britain, leading to over £100,000 being raised by the British TUC to assist the locked out workers. They were starved back to work in January 1914 but the ITGWU survived. Labour shortages in the First World War and a British Government decision to facilitate union recognition to ensure industrial peace saw the rapid recovery of the movement. The Lockout also witnessed the birth of the Irish Citizen Army, further strengthening the cause of labour.