Re­mem­ber­ing the ‘Men of Iron’ of 1911

Wexford People - - NEWS - By ANNA HAYES

THE MEN and women of the 1911 Lock Out were re­mem­bered re­cently when the an­nual wreath-lay­ing took place at the Lock Out Gate in The Faythe.

Those gath­ered also re­mem­bered the sculp­tor of the gate, Peter Hod­nett, who passed away in July 2014. Mr Hod­nett had de­signed and sculpted the ‘Men of Iron’ Lock Out Gate, as well as the ‘Eter­nal Flame’ sculp­ture in New Ross. Mem­bers of Mr Hod­nett’s fam­ily were spe­cial guests at this year’s cer­e­mony.

The event com­mem­o­rates the lead­ers of the 1911 Lock Out, along with the 700 men and their fam­i­lies who were af­fected by the Lock Out in 1911. It lasted six months and saw work­ers locked out of three Wex­ford town foundries, The Star, Doyle’s and Pierce’s af­ter they were pro­hib­ited from join­ing a union.

He­len Cor­ish Wylde, whose grand­fa­ther Richard Cor­ish was one of the lead­ers of the Lock Out, said that the event takes place every year to ‘com­mem­o­rate the men and their fam­i­lies who suf­fered un­due hard­ship and de­pri­va­tion.’

The event was at­tended by the Mayor of Wex­ford Cllr Jim Moore, Min­is­ter of State Paul Kehoe, lo­cal county coun­cil­lors, District Man­ager Angie Laf­fan and mem­bers of the Lock Out Com­mit­tee, in­clud­ing Chair­man Cllr Davy Hynes who spoke briefly about the legacy of the Lock Out.

Lay­ing a wreath at the site, Mayor of Wex­ford, Cllr Jim Moore re­marked upon how the is­sues that came to light dur­ing the Lock Out were still rel­e­vant to this day, point­ing out that there were still many who did not have a voice in so­ci­ety.

‘Times are dif­fer­ent but the chal­lenges are still the same and what hap­pened in 1911 still res­onates to this day. It’s up to us to rep­re­sent those who don’t have a voice.’

Cllr Moore said that he was de­lighted to be able to pay tribute to Mr Hod­nett, say­ing that he re­mem­bered be­ing in school with the sculp­tor and noted that, at that time, his tal­ents lay in met­al­work classes.

He felt it was apt that Peter, who he knew as Peadar, had de­signed and crafted the Lock Out gate which com­mem­o­rated an event that af­fected so many who were em­ployed in the met­al­work in­dus­try in Wex­ford in the early 1900s.

He added that iron­work was some­thing that Wex­ford had a unique tal­ent for at that time and many of the county’s em­i­grants set up such busi­nesses in the USA and other parts of the world. Cllr Moore re­marked that he had vis­ited the site of one such busi­ness in Savannah, Ge­or­gia the pre­vi­ous week and stood at the gates of Kehoe’s Iron­work yard.

‘No more than Pierce’s Foundry, Kehoe’s is long gone now but the gates are still there and stand­ing at those, and then at the Lock Out gate, does show how her­itage and his­tory are in­ter­twined; it’s a small world.’

Mayor Jim Moore un­veils a plaque in me­mory of Peter Hod­nett, in the com­pany of the Hod­nett fam­ily, Min­is­ter Paul Kehoe, Wex­ford Mu­nic­i­pal Bor­ough mem­bers and mem­bers of the Lock Out com­mit­tee.

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