The James Larkin Society held a very successful James Larkin March and Rally in Liverpool yesterday to remember the 100th Anniversary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout. Cairde na hEireann Liverpool were proud to support this annual event again this year and worked closely with the James Larkin Society, Trade Unionists, community groups, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police to ensure its success. Close to 500 people attended yesterday’s march and rally which was lead by the Liverpool Irish Patriots Flute Band. The event was addressed by Steve Higginson, Secretary James Larkin Society, Billy Hayes, General Secretary Communication Workers Union and Cormac O’Dalaigh, President of the Communication Workers Union (Ireland).
As opposed to last years parade which was targeted and attacked by a wide range of right wing fascist groups along with local Orange Order members, this years event passed of relatively peacefully and showed the real commitment by all parties to ensure that Irish community and Trade Union events are allowed to proceed unhindered and free from protesters involved in racist and sectarian abuse aimed at marchers. There were 11 arrests of protesters on the day with most not actually occurring near the event route. We note the positive approach in dealing with hate groups and individuals intent on disrupting this event by Merseyside Police, not only on the day itself but also in the weeks leading up to the March. This approach lead to a positive experience for all on the March, free from threats and abuse and we applaud Merseyside Police’s robust approach in dealing with lone individuals who attempted to disrupt the March along the route.
Cairde na hEireann Liverpool remains committed to working in partnership with local authorities on future events that allow Irish people in Liverpool/Merseyside to express themselves both culturally and politically. We also note that comments from Liverpool’s Orange Order prior to yesterday’s march asking their members not be involved in targeting the James Larkin March & Rally as being a positive step and undoubtedly had a big impact on right wing fascist organisations being able to mobilise on a bigger scale. It remains Cairde na hEireann Liverpool’s view that Liverpool’s streets should be a shared space for all communities and free from racism, sectarianism and hate, and any groups /individuals who promote such should have no place within civic society.