THE DUBLIN COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS – founded on March 3rd , 1886 : 120 years ago this year .
First published in ‘AP/RN’ , 27th February 1986 .
Monday , March 3rd 1986 marks the centenary of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) . To commemorate this occasion , Donal Lyons , with the invaluable co-operation of the DCTU’s Centenary Arrangements Committee and the Irish Labour History Society traces the history of the DCTU from its inception , through to the traumatic 1913 Lock-Out , its leaders’ involvement in the 1916 Rising and right up to the present day’s campaign for tax reform :
The Dublin Council of Trade Unions was formed in the rather inappropriately-named and long-since-demolished Odd Fellows’ Hall on Dublin’s Southside on March 3rd 1886 . The inaugural delegate meeting of 27 unions had its origins in an exhibition in 1884 where the work of Dublin artisans was shown . Thirty-four unions were involved in the show and the regular meetings required to set the display up impressed upon the unions the need for a central body in Dublin to represent the needs of labour .
In its formative years , the DCTU was totally dominated by the craft unions and was inclined to be somewhat arrogant in its attitude to the general worker , taking the view that labour and capital should not be antagonistic to each other but should instead wotk together for the promotion of native industry . With this outlook the DCTU presented no threat to the political , social or industrial status quo and , not surprisingly , attracted the patronage of establishment figures such as the Catholic Archbishop William Walsh , Unionist Alderman Robert Sexton and ‘Lord’ Iveagh …….
On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British ‘Lord’ Widgery was highly selective in the ‘evidence’ he used in his ‘official’ report on the matter – and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims’ families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in ‘MAGILL’ magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .
(Note – on Saturday 28th January next , a Commemoration to mark the 34th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday will be held at the GPO in Dublin between 1PM and 3PM . All Welcome.)
On 29 January 1972 (the eve of ‘Bloody Sunday’) the DUP announced the cancellation of their ‘prayer meeting’ – “We have been assured that the civil rights march will be halted by force if necessary . We are prepared to give the (British) government a final opportunity to demonstrate their integrity and honour their promise , but warn that if they fail in this undertaking they need never again ask loyalist people to forfeit their basic right of peaceful and legal assembly . ”
That same afternoon (29 January 1972) , a run-of-the-mill riot in William Street shuddered to a halt when a local man , Peter McLaughlin , was hit in the shoulder by a single shot fired by a British soldier stationed on a rooftop about 100 yards away – as the streets cleared , another man , Peter Robson , ran out to help : as he bent over McLaughlin , another shot from the rooftop on the Strand Road struck him in the shoulder and passed through his body less than half an inch from his spine .
Within an hour , the British Army had issued a press statement claiming that the two men had been throwing nail-bombs : they had fallen a few yards from the spot where Damien Donaghey and John Johnston , the first casualties of Bloody Sunday , were to be shot the next day . Neither man was ever questioned or charged in relation to the ‘nail-bomb’ allegation . Later that same night , (29 January 1972) at their home on Westway , Creggan , Peter Robson’s brother Terry , having driven from Belfast upon hearing of the shooting noted military vehicles on the move in unusual numbers . He remarked – ” There’s something really odd about all this . Something’s up ……. ”
INFORMERS : The RUC’s Psychological War …….
From ‘IRIS’ magazine , March 1983.
By Sean Delaney.
When the RUC’s Chief Constable Jack Hermon said on March 24th 1982 that the IRA “…is reeling from these blows and becoming desperate .. ” he was undoubtedly giving voice to a new-found optimism shared by other Six County ‘security advisors’ that the IRA’s ‘back’ , which , contrary to British government expectations , had been strengthened , not weakened , by the hunger-strikes , might finally be broken through the demoralisation among Republican supporters which they believed the use of informers would provoke .
That optimism proved ill-advised , and RUC man Hermon received a ‘rap on the knuckles’ from fellow loyalists for his bravado , when the IRA struck devastatingly next day in West Belfast , shooting three British soldiers dead in an M60 machine-gun ambush . Since then , the IRA has proved effectively time after time – maintaining earlier levels of military operations – that whatever internal problems have been posed by the RUC’s use of informers , the tactic is far from being a winning card , and that its structure and operational personnel remain intact . Neither the large-scale arrests on the ‘evidence’ of Christopher Black or those on the ‘evidence’ of Raymond Gilmour and Bobby Quigley have prevented the IRA in Belfast and Derry operating with considerable success over the past year .
Nevertheless the RUC has continued its use of paid informers with undiminished enthusiasm precisely because the primary thrust of the tactic was not to cripple the IRA organisationally (which from bitter experience the RUC believes to be an unrealistic proposition) but has been geared to inflicting a political defeat by creating a crisis of confidence in the Republican Movement among its active supporters – demoralising them and making them afraid of giving support or assistance to IRA Volunteers , in case – so the propaganda goes – they should later be informed on ……. (‘1169…’ Comment – …much the same as what appears to be happening today in the Provo organisation : Westminster , having exposed some of its own agents in the Provisional group , has succeeded in neutralising any possible political or military opposition to it that still may have been present in Adams’ organisation . Members of that group now face two options – either stay ‘in the fold’ , which means keeping the head down , accepting further sell-outs and hope , like their leadership have , to obtain a political ‘career’ from doing so , or – walk ! And the fact that they did’nt walk away from the Adams Family ten years ago when this debacle started has convinced the PSF leadership [and rightly so , it seems] that their members are indeed politically ‘pliable’ enough to eventually fit-in to an RUC/PSNI uniform and to wear same in the belief that they do so in order to obtain the reunification of their country ! Redmond and Parnell must surely be surprised that such ‘followers’ still exist …)