Jim Larkin: Irish Hero

The Irish trade union leader Jim Larkin was born in 1976 and passed away in January 1947. The socialist activist also known as James Larkin was born in the city of Liverpool, England to parents who were both of Irish descent. When he was a young child, his family moved to County Down in Northern Ireland where they grew up impoverished. Read more: James Larkin | Biography

Though Jim Larkin did not receive much in the way of a formal education, he still accomplished a great deal in his life as a trade unionist and has gone down in history as a sort of Irish folk hero. Due to his family living in poverty, Jim Larkin started working very early in his life like a lot of poor Irish children of the time.

In 1905, Jim Larkin became a trade union organizer as his full-time career. He moved to the capital city of Ireland, Belfast, in 1907 where he went on to start 3 different labor unions. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm and http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html

These labor unions include the Irish Labour Party, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, and eventually the Workers’ Union of Ireland. Jim Larkins was respected during his life as well as after and is known fondly as “Big Jim” to this day.

James Larkin played a big role in the Dublin lock-out, which many see as the most significant industrial dispute in the entire history of Ireland. It took place between August 1913 and January 1914 before the dispute between 300 employees and their around 20,000 employees finally ended.

Jim Larkin was the main protagonist for the workers. He helped organize the thousands of untrained workers in the Dublin area to help them fight for better work conditions and fair pay.

His efforts in Ireland led to him being called “the greatest Irishman since Parnell” by George Bernard Shaw. He was also called a genius with splendid vitality by his colleague James Connolly.

His newspaper, The Irish Worker and People’s Advocate, was established in 1911. He used it to be able to spread his message about unfair employers and their practices until the year 1915.

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