People make kings and people can unmake them; but what has the King of England to do with stopping a meeting in Dublin? If they like to stop the meeting at the order of Mr. Murphy, Mr. Wm. Murphy will take the responsibility; and, as I have previously told you, for every man that falls on our side two will fall on the other. We have a perfect right to meet in O’Connell Street. We are going to meet in O’Connell Street, and if the police or soldiers are going to stop or try to stop us, let them take the responsibility. If they want a revolution, well then, God be with them.
– Jim Larkin speaking on the eve of a banned demonstration on O’Connell Street, August 1913
I’m delighted to have been asked to say a few words at the launch of a new comic book on Big Jim Larkin, which comes from O’Brien Press. Following on from their graphic novels exploring the Easter Rising and the War of Independence, this new work looks at the Dublin Lockout of 100 years ago. Sharing a stage with Jer O’Leary is always a bit daunting, the last time I done that was in a school in Ringsend, where I saw him captivate an audience of kids with his Larkin performance. Also speaking is Stephen Mooney, a well-established comic book artist and illustrator.
Larkin understood the power of cartoons, which were a constant presence in his Irish Worker newspaper, but he was also ridiculed in the pages of the mainstream media. This great little cartoon comes from the conservative Daily Express in England, who believed politicians in Britain were bowing before the ‘Larking’.