Lies against Larkin cannot be ignored
Published 01/08/2011 | 05:00
Having recognised the power of propaganda, Adolf Hitler once remarked "make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it". One could apply this to Kevin Myers's persistent depiction of Big Jim Larkin as an embezzler of union funds -- an allegation correctly refuted by Alfie Gallagher (Letters, July 30).
Larkin was from the slums of Liverpool and was put to work out of financial necessity at the age of seven. At 13, he was the only breadwinner in the family following the death of his father. Larkin was the son of a labourer, not the privileged son of a doctor, and he dedicated his life to improving the lot of the working classes in Britain and Ireland. 'Big Jim' confronted the William Martin Murphys of the day, stood alongside the men and women of the Dublin slums during the 1913 Lockout, and brought some dignity to those who were being starved into submission by greedy employers.
Larkin formed the ITGWU and the WUI and also founded the Irish Labour Party. The thousands of ordinary Dubliners at Jim Larkin's funeral in 1947, despite the atrocious weather conditions, was testimony to the affection and respect of his peers.