William O'Brien (1881-1968) Papers, 1898-1969.
|Main Creator:||O'Brien, William, 1881-1968|
William O’Brien was born on 23 January 1881 at Ballygurteen, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. His father Daniel O’Brien was a member of the RIC and was a nationalist and Irish language revivalist. The famil moved to Dublin in 1886 and William O’Brien became a tailor. He became an active Union member and took part in socialist agitation when he joined the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He was a close associate of James Connolly and helped establish the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1909 and was instrumental in the Dublin Lock-Out Strike in 1913. During the First World War he became a member of the Irish Neutrality League and Anti-Conscription Committee and was interned on numerous occasions by the Dublin Castle government. He did not partake in the 1916 Easter Rising but was closely involved in its planning. With the formation of the Irish Free State, O’Brien was elected as TD for Dublin South at the 1922 general election, for Tipperary in 1927 and later in 1937. O’Brien was an important figure in the Labour Party in Ireland and was a consistent supporter of expanded labour activity. He also supported the leadership of James Larkin in the formation of the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union in 1908. However in 1923, to prevent James Larkin’s near dictatorial role in the union, O’Brien joined an executive that brought in new rules limiting the authority of the general secretary which lead to a breach within the Union. Larkin was expelled from the body and O’Brien became its general secretary and he succeeded in excluding Larkin from both the Labour Party and the trades union congress. This split weakened the labour movement. O’Brien remained active in politics and the trade union movement and retired in 1946. He died on 31 October 1968.
Letters and papers of William O'Brien, 1898-1969.
Physical description: 182 folders.