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27 June 2012

Police and Strikers, February 1922.

A letter dated 16th February 1922 from Police Headquarters, Dail Eireann, signed by the chief of police, to T.Foran esq. president ITGWU, states -

"A Chara,

I am informed that a strike exists with the Grand Canal Company in Clondalkin district. Recently a body of from forty to fifty men removed a temporary lock gate from the Company's premises and brought it down to the 8th lock near Clondalkin, where some of the Company's workmen were executing repairs. It is alleged that this was done in order that Bye-Traders boats could travel on the canal during the strike, the object being that the tolls due to the company should be paid to your union.

I shall be glad if you will issue instructions to your men on strike to confine themselves to peacefull picketting and not out-step their duties in this respect."

This was replied to on the 25th inst. by the General President -

"A chara,

We have your letter of the 16th inst. referring to an occurance at Clondalkin, where canal employees on strike restored a lock gate which had been removed. We do not know if the incident has been represented to you in a just and impartial light, but we desire to assure you that the men's object in maintaining the canal and attending to the locks is not primarily that of securing their own benifit by the collection of tolls.

In the first place the canal is essential to many industries along the waterway ; maltings, flour mills, turf suppliers, private traders and general merchants in the various towns it serves. The complete closing down desired by the company would cause serious dislocation of business and dis-employment of thousands of hands. In addition, non-regulation of the locks would entail grave risk of flooding in low-lying lands.

In any event, the dispute was settled yesterday, and a resumption of work will take place immediately."

Police Headquarters responded -

" A Chara,

I am in receipt of your communication of the 25th inst. I am pleased to see that the dispute with the Grand Canal Company is now settled."


Bibliography: From the Irish Transport and General Workers Union files (canals) lodged at the Irish Labour History Museum and Archive, Beggars Bush, Dublin 4.

Joe Treacy 2012.


Last Updated ( 27 June 2012 )
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