Jim Larkin was a large part of the modern Irish labour movement, and he is one of Ireland’s most historical figures. He launched the ITGWU at a time when only 1 out of every 10 Irish workers were in a union. While he worked closely with James Connolly in the movement, they both had their disagreements and differences of opinion. Read more: Jim Larkin | Wikipedia
Part of what split the two was the fact the movement needed money to fund it, but Jim Larkin found a way around this by starting up the Irish Worker newspaper. Around the same time that the newspaper was finding success, Larkin grew his union to over 15,000 strong, and because of the ITGWU, the Labour Party was established. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison and http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml
While Jim Larkin made plenty of headway, including a successful struggle that took place between 20,000 workers and 404 employers, the Labour Party was eventually defeated. This caused Larkin to consider his options, and it wasn’t long before he moved to the United States.
He became a public speaker who eventually got paid by Germany, but after some differences between what they wanted and what he was willing to do, he became part of New York’s socialist movement. Over the next couple of years, he attempted to get a passport for Ireland to no avail, and while the Irish Labour movement was still inspired by him, the leadership of the ITGWU was not so impressed.
After Jim Larkin was jailed for a time, he was pardoned and deported to England where he spent over a decade expressing his frustration. Part of his worry centered around the leadership of the ITGWU, and he was hoping to be able to take part in the group again. Eventually, the group slowly shrunk and became less effective as time went on.
Larkin slowly shied away from some of his more aggressive behavior and slowed down as he got older. He focused his energies on things he could have an effect on like housing issues and the Trade Union Act. Now, Jim Larkin is known as an Irish Folk Hero who was active during some of the greatest movements of the country’s history.