James Larkin, the Labor Leader

James Larkin was born in 1876. His parents were emigrants from Armagh; Mary Ann McNulty and James Larkin. The family was in the working-class and, therefore, had to struggle to get something on the table when the day ends.

James Larkin Junior’s father worked with a firm in Liverpool, and the family, due to their status, resided in slums.

James got used to growing up under these conditions. Most of the families like his had a particular arrangement during that time. The grown children would go to school and later after their classes, work.

All the efforts were always for one common cause, which is to provide for the family. James Larkin being no exception, worked well with the arrangement as soon as he turned 7. However, this was not long-lived because his father passed on, a few years later. The family was bruised because one of the breadwinners was gone. But as always, life had to move on.

James Larkin was always hard working and determined. He had a spirit to keep going even when there were no longer grounds for him.

He found his way around a few jobs before he became a docker, and a few years later, a dock supervisor. He liked his post and got married in 1903 to Elizabeth Brown.

He became a socialist soon after, and a strike that took place at the docks made him a principal interest to the National Union of Dock Laborers, NUDL. The strike involved foremen, and NUDL liked Larkin’s spirit. He became a member of the union in 1905.

James Larkin was the secretary general of NUDL. He and Larkin disagreed on the leadership of the union, and this led to a dispute that was never resolved. James Larkin then moved to Dublin and was not there for long before his militant methods, which were not acceptable to NUDL, led to his release from the union.

Unskilled Irish workers were not treated fairly. James Larkin was against this unfairness, and therefore, formed the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, ITGWU. Four Years later, he started the Irish Labor Party. This party was formed by both James Connolly and James Larkin.

It conducted strikes in Dublin. The significance of Irish Labor Party, however, was not in the number of strikes that they led, but the lockout that involved more than 100,000 workers. It was the greatest in Dublin.

James Larkin went to the USA a few years later. He was arrested in 1920 and released a few years later. He was deported to Ireland and had his eternal rest in 1947.

Learn more about Jim Larkin:


Leave a Reply