Rosie Hackett - Irish Revolutionary and Lifelong Trade Union Activist.
Rosie Hackett was on the front line of strikes, the Dublin Lockout, and the Easter Rising. She was born this week on the July 25th in 1893. A remarkable Irish Revolutionary.
Born in the tenements of Bolton Street of north inner city Dublin, she became a member of James Larkin’s Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU). She was active during the Lockout of 1913, protesting, supporting workers, and running a striker’s soup kitchen.
She joined James Connolly’s Irish Citizens Army. In 1916 she was trusted with ensuring the printing of the Proclamation to be read by Patrick Pearse on the steps of the GPO. She reportedly handed the first copy, ink still wet, to James Connolly.
During the Easter Rising she was a nurse with the Citizen Army she recalled:
“It was very exciting there. We were under heavy fire from late on Monday evening. Even when we marked out the first aid post with a red sign they did not recognise it and kept firing at us.”
After the surrender, Rosie was arrested and brought to Kilmainham Jail, where she was held for 10 days before being released. She immediately plunged back into her trade union and republican activities.
On the occasion of the first anniversary of James Connolly’s death, a banner with the words “James Connolly murdered, May 12th 1916” was hung from Liberty Hall. It was quickly removed by the police. In response, Rosie Hackett and Helena Moloney printed up the same banner and hung it from the roof with Tricolours at each end. They barricaded the doors shut and it took 400 police over an hour to remove it. Speaking to the Bureau of Military History, she said:
“I always felt that it was worth it, to see all the trouble the police had in getting it down. No one was arrested. Of course, if it took 400 police to take four women, what would the newspapers say?”
After the Treaty in 1921, she continued her trade union activities and helped re-establish the Irish Women Workers’ Union which at its height in the 1940s organized 70,000 women.
She passed away in 1976 at the age of 84. She was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with full military honors. We remember Rosie Hackett.