Speaking in the Seanad today during the visit of the Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions David Begg, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Workers Rights David Cullinane welcomed David Beggs acceptance of the invitation to address the Seanad on the 1913 Lockout and its relevance to modern Ireland.
Senator Cullinane said:
“I am delighted that David Begg accepted our invitation to address the Seanad on ‘The 1913 Lockout and its relevance to modern Ireland.’
“The Lockout is one of the most important events in Irish history in that it resulted in the establishment of the Irish labour movement and the Citizens Army.
“The radicalism of the Lockout found expression in the Easter Rising and that culminated in the emergence of a sovereign and independent Irish state.
“The hardship, cruelty, and poverty that characterised the Lockout is now overshadowed by the courage, bravery, and indomitable spirit of the workers and their families as they fought and died for workers’ rights and working class dignity.
“That being said, one hundred years on Ireland is one of only three EU states where workers do not have the right to negotiate collective agreements that are enshrined in law.
“Sinn Fein will continue to support workers and we believe that all working people should have the right to be represented by a trade union.
“We believe the Government has a duty and a responsibility to bring forward legislation without further delay that enshrines the right to collective bargaining in law.
“Workers, in this the centenary of the 1913 Lockout deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and to have their right to be represented by a trade union written into the law of the land.
“In this the one hundred anniversary of the Lockout the Irish state, at the very least, owns them this.”