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Liberty Hall wrapped up to celebrate Lockout

Dublin's Liberty Hall will be shrouded in a giant cloak depicting dramatic events from the 1913 Lockout.

The 17-storey building will be wrapped in a PVC cloak decorated with images of the industrial dispute that convulsed the city 100 years ago.

It is the first time that a building in Dublin has had a wrap-around on such a huge scale.

The massive billboard cloak commemorates the centenary of the struggle between trade unions and employers at a time when there was abject poverty and squalid slums in the capital.

The display will be in place from next month until October and is based on the artwork of leading Irish artist Robert Ballagh and Wicklow artist Cathy Henderson.

The two artists have been working on the project for several months.

Mr Ballagh has created many artworks about the 1913 Lockout and feels strongly that new generations should learn about the lives and conditions of people a century ago.

In 1913, slum dwellers sought higher wages and better working conditions by joining the Irish Transport and General Workers Union.

But as labour unrest grew, employers insisted their workers give up union membership and sign a pledge swearing that they would not join the union.

In the disputes that followed, more than 20,000 workers were either locked out of their jobs or went on strike.

The dispute lasted six months and resulted in widespread hardship. The Lockout also fed emigration and the growth of Ireland's diaspora.

The huge graphics to be displayed on the sides of Liberty Hall are supported by the trade union movement.

The building is the headquarters of Ireland's biggest union – SIPTU – which was co-founded by Jim Larkin, a leading figure in the 1913 dispute, when it was the Irish TGWU.

There is also an exhibition of slum life in Dublin in a former tenement house in Henrietta Street.The Dublin Tenement Experience: Living the Lockout runs until August 31.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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