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William X. O'Brien

William X. O'Brien Irish politician and trade unionist

Irish politician and trade unionist
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Irish politician and trade unionist
Was Activist Politician Trade unionist
From Ireland
Type Activism Politics
Gender male
Birth 23 January 1881, Clonakilty
Death 31 October 1968 (aged 87 years)
Star sign AquariusAquarius
The details

William X. O'Brien (ITGWU) and William O'Brien (Home Rule/IPP) were contemporaries in Irish politics early in the 20th century, but should not be confused. For other people of the same name see William O'Brien (disambiguation).
William X. O'Brien (23 January 1881 – 31 October 1968) was a politician and trade unionist in Ireland.
Born in Clonakilty, County Cork, and christened 'John William', O'Brien moved with his family to Dublin in 1897, and quickly became involved in the Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP). O'Brien is described as "a very significant figure in the ISRP" by the historian of the ISRP, David Lynch.
A close friend and associate of James Connolly, O'Brien helped establish the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union in 1909, and was instrumental in the Dublin Lock-out strike in 1913.
A member of the Irish Neutrality League, and Anti-Conscription Committee, during the World War I, O'Brien was interned on several occasions by the Dublin Castle government. During one of these instances, he stood in the 1920 Stockport by-election, but was refused a release to campaign in it.
With the formation of the Irish Free State, O'Brien was elected as Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin South at the 1922 general election, and again for Tipperary in June 1927 and again in 1937.
An important figure in the Labour Party in Ireland in its formative days, O'Brien resisted James Larkin's attempt to gain control of the Party on release from prison. Taking Larkin to court over his occupation of ITGWU headquarters, the Larkin-O'Brien feud resulted in a split within the labour and trade union movements, and the formation of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
In 1930, O'Brien sought to have Leon Trotsky granted asylum in Ireland, but the head of the Free State government, W. T. Cosgrave, refused to allow it.
Active in politics and the trade union movement into his 60s, O'Brien retired in 1946 and died on 31 October 1968.

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