James Connolly


Still Fighting

(12 February 1916)

Workers’ Republic, 12 February 1916.
Reprinted in Red Banner, No.11.
Transcribed by Aindrias Ó Cathasaigh.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The following resolution was moved at last meeting of the Dublin Port and Docks Board:

That we request the Government to take such steps as are necessary for the purpose of compelling the City of Dublin Company to resume the cross-channel traffic carried on by their steamers previous to November last; and that we further request the Admiralty not to requisition the Laird Line steamers or the steamers of any of the other shipping Companies while a fleet of idle steamers are tied up in Liverpool. [1]

The Chamber of Commerce of Dublin has also through its chairman publicly and most emphatically expressed its opinion of the culpability of the employer who persists in prolonging this fight so long after his cause has been lost in the court of public opinion, as well as upon the industrial battlefield. The opinion of organised labour upon this dispute was well summed up by Mr William O’Brien, Acting Secretary of the Dublin Trades Council, on Monday when he said:

They were always told to secure public opinion in a labour fight. If they had public opinion behind them they were bound to be right. Well, here was a case where for three months public opinion of all shades was at the back of the men (applause). They had the employers and everybody else saying the men were right (hear, hear). Still it did not prevent the alleged Irish representatives supporting the gang who were condemned (applause). The Government subsidy was still theirs to fight their workers and the very men who gave them their sympathy – it was cheap (laughter) – would support the very men who were stabbing the workers of the City of Dublin in the back (applause). Public opinion was a good thing, but the solidarity of the working classes was more – aye, a thousand times (cheers).

Never was a fight more justified, and more unexpected, than the one the men have been compelled to make in this case. The employer was given notice at the same time as the notice for an increase was served upon all his fellow-employers in the port, negotiations were carried on with other companies, the negotiations were broken off and a fight took place lasting two weeks, the negotiations were resumed and a settlement arrived at, companies not directly concerned in the negotiations such as the British and Irish, and Tedcastle companies agreed to accept the settlement as binding them also, and everything seemed settling down to peaceful industry when this company suddenly refused to conform, and plunged the port into another prolonged and useless conflict. Yet this company is the only one of the companies concerned in receipt of a Government subsidy, and is therefore the best able to pay, and at the same time the most amenable to Government pressure.

We wish again to reiterate our contention of some weeks ago [2]: If the head of this company says he is not able to pay the same rate as his competitors then the statement is a confession of bungling incompetence. The shareholders should dismiss him for the same reason as he would dismiss a dock labourer who said he could not work under the same conditions as his mates.

As was well said at the Trades Council meeting it is absolutely impossible that the men should lose, as such a defeat would be a signal for a wholesale attack upon labour in Dublin. Therefore the Trades Council has decided to organise financial assistance to the Union to help the splendid fellows who have fought so long and so well.

We thank our fellow Trade Unionists, and we assure them that if ever their time comes we will in return battle as zealously for them as if it were for ourselves.

For our brothers’ Cause IS our Cause. [3]



1. The City of Dublin Steam Packet Company was the only line that had refused to pay an increase agreed the previous October. See Connolly’s article To Hell with Contracts in Red Banner 9, p.45-6.

2. See A Lesson of the Strike in The Lost Writings (Pluto, London 1997), p.192-4.

3. The dispute continued until October 1917, when the company was taken over under wartime regulations, and all the workers were offered their jobs back.


Last updated on 15.8.2003