Dublin will soon(ish) have it’s first ever bridge to be named after a woman (unless the Anna Livia Bridge in Chapelizod counts?). Yesterday evening Dublin City Council voted on a shortlist of five, narrowed down from 85, and declared Rosie Hackett the over all winner. Plenty of discussion coming up the vote focused on the fact that this was Dublin’s opportunity to finally name a bridge in honour of a woman, so it is interesting to note that women placed first and second in yesterday’s vote with camogie heroine Kay Mills taking silver.
Rosie Hackett was an active trade unionist and co-founded Women Workers’ Union (IWWU) in 1911. She was involved in the 1913 Lockout, and later the 1916 rising, so it is perhaps not surprising that she won a vote in 2013. She was born in 1892 in the inner city and by 1911 is recorded as living in Old Abbey Street (very close to where the new bridge will be). She was a messenger for Jacob’s Biscuits and involved in organising female workers’ support for men’s strikes in August 1911. Involved in mobilising workers at the start of the Lockout in 1913 and later in providing support to those in need for the duration of the struggle, she was later dismissed from Jacob’s for her activities.
Hackett was a member of the Irish Citizen Army in 1916 and was imprisoned for a short time in Kilmainham after the rebels surrendered. After the rising she returned to her work with the Women Worker’s Unions campaigning for improved labour conditions for women. At the age of 76 she was awarded a gold medal for 60 years service to the labour movement. She died in 1976, aged 82.
Councillor Nial Ring had the following to say after the results were announced:
“It is great that someone so closely associated with the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Rising has been selected, although I am not so sure officialdom would have wanted Rosie’s name as it will be constant and long term reminder of our past history which it seems the Government want to draw a line under after their so-called “decade of commemorations”
The total points received by each nominee in the vote:
Rosie Hackett: 192 points
Kay Mills: 176 points
Willie Birmingham: 167 points
Bram Stoker; 92 points
Frank Duff: 80 points