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Sunday, August 14, 2011

We are where we are


100 years ago Wexford was a fundamentally different place. Most males worked in the foundry industry in Wexford town. The best known is Pierces but there were others in Selskar and the Star. In 1911 the employers locked out their employees as they wanted to join a union. In this case the ITGWU. Richard Corish was the main shop steward who worked at the Star Foundry in William St. Together with Connolly and Larkin he worked tirelessly to ensure that workers could be
represented by the unio
n of their choice. The lock out resulted in immense hardship for many houses in Wexford. In those days foundries closed at Christmas and wouldn’t re-open until March. For many families managing on limited means was the order of the day. The lock out meant that for over 6 months most families had no income in Wexford during a long cold dark winter. During that period Michael O'Leary a local man going about his business in the street was baton charged by the RIC during a riot. He died as a result of injuries received.

It is difficult to imagine the type nowadays the restricted lifestyle people led. Families coped with the hardship because they understood that when it was over that things would be better and that the sacrifice was worth it. In those days few families paid tax, nor had bank accounts simply because incomes were so low. Wexford’s foundries dominated the Irish production of farm machinery. To this day ploughs survive restored by their owners as a testament to the skill of the craft of ironwork in a by gone day.

Indeed the metal industry in Europe has been undermined by changes from globalisation and many of the major producers of farm machinery from that era are now consigned to history. However it makes us what we are today and the social history of the lock-out has shaped the social structure of this town.

The next 6 months will see a number of events marking the centenary. Mayor Davy Hynes officially opened the road which appropriately contains SIPTU’s Wexford HQ. Peter O’Leary grandson of Michael, spoke of his pride at the opening of the road. Many of the O’Leary family were there and it was great to see a good turn-out in the community to mark a hugely significant piece of Wexford history.


The St Patricks Fife and drum band played marches and tunes under a lovely blue sky. It was an evening for the ordinary people and a great start to the centenary of the lock out





6 comments:

Rory said...

I suppose your horrible buddies in SIPTU will we expounding socialism and other things they neither know nor care about.

Joe said...

Sounds like the IRSP is getting you down? Despite the economic slump few seem interested in your message.

Rory said...

Don't kid yourself Joe mo chara.

Rory said...

Selective posting of comments to alter the context of the discussion is just sly like a stupid person who lacks dialectic, or righteousness, it won't save ye joe.

Joe said...

What exactly are you suggesting about selective posting and altering of comments?

Rory said...

Joe,

Comment moderation is fair enough, but (my) third comment was not published for well over a week after I made it. Implying that I didn't want to respond to (your) second comment.

Which would imply that the IRSP are getting me down. Far from the truth Joe.

The sad fact is that ALL professional politicains in Ireland lie habitually these days. Probably because Haughey and Aherne seemed to make such a virtue out of lying and skullduggery and were rewarded by the electorate for it, over and over again.

Rory