"Did you boo Jack O'Connor then?


Dublin Saturday 27th November 100,000 on ICTU march. I was there and I heard the booing.

Got back to Cork late Saturday, after an icy drive down the motorway. Visiting a friends house after coming back , relating the story from the day. "Did you boo Jack O'Connor then?" says one.

 I was with the 1% block and when we got to O'Connell street walked in through the mass of people to near Jim Larkins' statue. Wondered what he'd think. All they way through the crowd people were booing and heckling O'Connor. Shouting "Off, off" or "General strike". I joined in a few times of course, being as pissed off as my fellow workers, it reminded me of watching Ceausescu on TV all those years ago as he rambled on and the crowd grew more hostile and more confident.  But the crowd here was divided, some were clearly not for the booing, a few shocked by it, but there was no doubt that the crowd were growing more restive as Jack layed on the rhetoric more. Whe he made reference to the rich on their big salaries someone nearby shouted "just like you" to gales of laughter.  That was it, they weren't just booing they/we were laughing at him. The leader of the biggest union in the country, failing his members, failing his class, a laughing stock amongst these angry workers.

We were silent and happy for Frances Black singing and for Christy Moore and the woman speaking for the pensioners, but not Begg and not for O'Connor too many years of collaboration, too cosy with the state and the bosses.

After the main event the left block platform sprung into action, the ICTU sound system blasted out Power to the People by John Lennon, some thought to drown out the lefts speeches. It didn't work thousands stopped and listened, the people I talked too were unhappy with the union leadership wanted something more, they weren't lefties they were just ordinary people angry enough to fight looking for a lead.

A new page is being turned, a wave of angry working class people are going to take the fight to the government, the ECB, the IMF, whoever., the union leaders may obstruct but they cannot cap the volcano and the ones who try will be cast aside as we retake our unions.

WORDS: James McBarron

Further reading