How Railwaymen and Dockers defied an Empire

Written by Peter Rigney.

Sponsored by, and published in association with, Iarnród Éireann.

ISBN 978-1-8381112-2-9

Published April 2021

Railway historian Peter Rigney tells the story of how ordinary Irish railwaymen brought British forces in Ireland to a standstill during the Munitions Strike, more correctly known as the Arms Embargo, of 1920. This 57-page pamphlet draws on a range of archival sources including railway company archive not hitherto used by historians. It details how and why railwaymen refused to handle munitions and armed troops. The action had a widespread impact; from the men of Ireland’s large railway companies, to wider effects on British military mobility and for local communities. Attention is also given to intimidation suffered by those engaged (and not engaged) in the strike, and the struggle for a solution to the railwaymens’ action in the face of mass dismissals. The pamphlet is fully referenced and contains several photographs and documents.

The strike featured in Ken Loach’s film The Wind that shakes the Barley.

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