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Dublin staff led way in South Africa protest

A BUNCH of high-fliers landed in trouble over South Africa 30 years ago - just as opposition to apartheid was reaching boiling point in Ireland and the famous fruit boycott (above) by Dunnes Stores workers in Dublin was beginning.

The skymen and women caught up in the row over race were members of an Irish parachuting team that took part in the 1983 South Africa world championship despite a sports boycott.

The furore over the development coincided with intensified long-standing Irish government criticism of apartheid - and the start in 1984 of strike action in Dublin that history has acknowledged as a historic milestone in Irish and world efforts to force an end to that despised racial policy.

The industrial action was taken by 12 workers at Dunnes Stores in Henry Street, who refused to handle goods from South Africa.


Mary Manning and the other workers later had the great satisfaction of hearing Nelson Mandela say that news of their protest far away in Dublin had strengthened his resolve while in Robben Island prison.