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Rosie Hackett

Rosanna “Rosie” Hackett was a pioneering figure in Ireland’s labour movement and a key participant in the struggle for workers’ rights. Born into a working-class family in Dublin, Hackett’s early life was marked by her involvement in trade unionism, joining the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) at its inception in 1909.

Her career as a labour activist began in earnest when, at just eighteen, she co-founded the Irish Women Workers’ Union (IWWU) with Delia Larkin. During the tumultuous 1913 Dublin Lockout, Hackett played a crucial role, mobilising workers and organising support for striking colleagues at Jacobs’ factory. Despite facing dismissal from her job at Jacobs, she remained steadfast in her commitment to workers’ rights.

Hackett’s involvement in the Irish Citizen Army further solidified her dedication to the cause of Irish independence and workers’ empowerment. In the lead-up to the 1916 Easter Rising, she contributed to preparations by providing logistical support, aiding in the printing of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, and participating in drills and first aid training.

During the Rising itself, Hackett fought alongside her comrades in the Irish Citizen Army, notably in the area of St. Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons. Despite facing heavy gunfire and dire conditions, she remained resolute in her commitment to the cause.

Following the Rising, Hackett continued her advocacy for workers’ rights, returning to the IWWU and remaining an active participant in the labour movement. Over the ensuing decades, she played a pivotal role in organising strikes and negotiating better conditions for workers. Her contributions were recognised in 1970 when she was awarded a gold medal for fifty years of service to the ITGWU.

Hackett’s legacy extends beyond her lifetime, with her name immortalised in the Rosie Hackett Bridge, which was opened in Dublin in 2014. This bridge stands as a testament to her tireless efforts in the pursuit of social justice and workers’ rights. Additionally, a plaque unveiled on Foley Street commemorates her role in the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rising, ensuring that her contributions to Irish history are never forgotten.

Throughout her life, Hackett remained dedicated to the cause of workers’ empowerment and social change. Her commitment to justice and equality serves as an inspiration to future generations, highlighting the power of grassroots activism in effecting meaningful societal change.

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  • more of a ‘force for good’

  • Less of a ‘force for good’


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