Dublin Trades Council
Workers’ Republic, 31 July 1915.
Republished in James Connolly: Lost Writings, (ed. Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh), Pluto Press 1997.
The notes, which are © 1997 Pluto Press, have not been included.
HTML Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
The fortnightly meeting of the Dublin Trades Council was held on Monday evening, Mr T. Farren, President, in the Chair. Also present: Messrs Edward Lyons, Brass Founders and Gasfitters; R. Carroll, TC, Brick and Stone Layers; John Lawler, Cab and Car Owners; J. Simmons, Carpenters (Amal); Matthew Callanan, Central Ironmoulders; M. Culliton, Carpenters (Gen Union); T. Murphy, Carpet Planners; Francis Farrell, Coachmakers; A. Kavanagh, P. Bowes, J. Bermingham, Corporation Labourers; C. Woodhead, Electricians; J. Bowman, Engineers; B. Drumm, Farriers; Joseph McGrath, Irish Clerks’ Union; J. Metcalfe, W.P. Partridge, TC, T. Foran, PLG, James Connolly, Irish Transport Workers; James Courteney, Marble Polishers; J. Lennon, Mineral Water Operatives; J. Kelly, National Union Assurance Agents; Jos. Farrell, M. Smith, Painters (Amal); F. Davidson, Dyers and Cleaners; W. Shanks, Packing Case and Box Makers; Peter Macken, John Bermingham, Painters (Metropolitan); D. Holland, M.A. Brady, Printers (Typo); A. Doyle, Saddlers; G. Paisley, Sawyers; P.D. Bolger, Slaters; W.J. Murphy, Smiths (White); J. Flanagan, P. Carey, Stationary Engine Drivers; Thomas Farren, Stonecutters; John Farren, Sheet Metal Workers; John Duffy, Iron Dressers; J.F. O’Neill, Irish Grocers’ and Purveyors’ Assistants Union; Winston, National League Blind; Jeremiah Kennedy, Smiths (United).
Messrs Lawler and Farren (Representatives on the Asylum Board) reported that a resolution had been adopted by the Board forbidding the taking in of apprentices in any of the Board’s workshops, as in their opinion such boys were not given full facilities to learn their trade, and rarely turned out good workmen. The Board had also agreed to give its labourers coal at cost price.
The President said the report proved the utility of having representatives on such public bodies.
Mr Partridge complained of the attempt by Mr Watson, of the Great Southern and Western Railway, to commandeer the machinery of the Bolton Street Technical School for the manufacture of war munitions, while Mr Watson’s own machinery was lying idle all night, and not all of it was worked on munitions in the day time.
Mr J. Murphy was astonished to hear of such an application, and thought the Education Committee were justified in refusing. In his opinion the boys in the school might be taught to do this work.
Mr Connolly said there was more in the matter than that suggested by the last speaker. The machines were originally acquired for educational purposes, and would be spoiled by the application to such work as it was now suggested to put them, and the citizens should not submit to it. He proposed a resolution protesting against the granting of such machinery for the munitions of war. They should be only employed in teaching the arts of Peace.
Mr Macken seconded the resolution, which he said would strengthen the Technical Education Committee in its refusal to grant the machines, and suggested that copies be sent to the Committee and the Department.
The resolution was passed unanimously.
Mr Macken referred to the forthcoming funeral procession of O’Donovan Rossa, which was now definitely known would leave the City Hall on Sunday next at two o’clock, and urged all working people to attend.
Mr Lawler asked that the trades should keep together, and suggested that they meet in Capel Street.
Mr Partridge expressed the hope that every Irish man in Dublin and its vicinity would attend, and advocated the closing of the public houses.
Messrs Holland and Simmons disagreed with the suggestion on the ground that it would cause great inconvenience to the travelling public.
Mr T. Murphy suggested Stephen’s Green as the rallying point of the various Trades.
Mr Connolly supported the suggestion, which was adopted.
The Chairman urged all present to do their utmost in making the procession worthy of the man and creditable to the nation.
It was decided to send a subscription to the Committee having charge of affairs in connection with the procession.
Mr Connolly said that the result of the South Wales Miners’ Strike was another signal proof of the strengths and invincibility of Labour when united. Here we had the greatest and strongest government that these countries had ever seen in modern times – a government vested with powers that a few years ago no one present would ever have dreamt would be vested in a modern British Government. We had a Coalition Cabinet of all the virtues; a military commander with almost unlimited power, and a civil population that had become hardened to the sight of the exercise of arbitrary authority by that power; we had an army and navy of unprecedented size and efficiency, and as against all that on the one side we had on the other a body of workers in control of nothing but their labour power. But when that body of workers declared that they would stop the process of production it was found that they were more powerful than all the mighty civil and military forces arrayed against them. What a lesson was this for Labour! It showed that Labour already possessed the power, all that it needed was the united will to exercise it. But we had been cursed with leaders without faith in their own class, without vision, without moral courage – leaders who were always preaching about our weakness instead of teaching us to rely upon our strength. Had we had the right kind of leaders this war would never have taken place. If the working class soldiers of Europe had but had the moral courage to say to the diplomats that they would not march against their brothers across the frontiers, but if they were going to fight they would rather fight against their enemies at home than against their brothers abroad, there would have been no war, and millions of homes that were now desolated would be happy (applause).
The Chairman said that it would be a pity to spoil such a magnificent speech by adding anything to it. He took that as the opinion of the Delegates.
The meeting then adjourned.
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