On Saturday 7th September 2013, Liverpool’s Irish community remembered the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA). Led by 7 Republican flute marching bands from Liverpool, Scotland and Ireland, the march followed a city centre route through Liverpool with an outdoor rally in the Holy Cross area.
In this Decade of Centenaries, the formation of the ICA of trained trade unionist volunteers by Liverpool-born Irish Trade Unionist James Larkin and Jack White was established in response to attacks by Police and gangs in pay of the employers during the Dublin Lockout of 1913. Other prominent members included James Connolly, Seán O’Casey, Constance Markievicz, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. In 1916, it took part in the Easter Rising – an armed insurrection aimed at ending British rule in Ireland.
The rally was addressed by both Steve Higginson, Secretary of the Liverpool-based James Larkin Society and Sinn Fein Councillor Micheal Mac Donncha of Dublin City Council. Clr Mac Donncha is author/editor of the recently published book ‘Lockout 1913 – Austerity 2013’. In his speech to the rally Clr MacDonncha made linked the current economic climate to the conditions faced by the Dublin working class of the early 20th century and the need for the formation of the ICA as a way of defending striking workers from both Police and Scab labour. Clr Mac Donncha also highlighted the fact that the irish in Liverpool are the first community/city to recognise the ICA and the positive role in Irish community life Cairde na hEierann Liverpool plays as it remembers the decade of centenaries.