Oisín Kelly completed his statue of the union leader James Larkin in 1978 and it was criticised at the time of its erection for the outsized hands encouraging the workers to rise up. I have noticed that the statue is described by some as facing Clerys Department Store which is not exactly true [unless it has been rotated by 90 degrees].
In 1909 Jim Larkin founded the Irish Transport & General Worker’s Union catering for unskilled workers such as carters, dockers, labourers, and factory hands, who lived in conditions of great misery in the slums of Dublin, then probably among the worst in Europe. By 1913 his union had over 10,000 members and had its headquarters in Liberty Hall.
The inscription on the front of the monument is an extract in French, Irish and English from one of his famous speeches:
Les grands ne sont grands que parce que nous sommes à genoux: Levons-nous.
Ní uasal aon uasal ach sinne bheith íseal: Éirímis.
The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise.
The slogan, first used on the 18th century French radical paper Révolutions de Paris,also appeared on the masthead of the Workers' Republic, founded by James Connolly in Dublin in August 1898. Originally the organ of the Irish Socialist Republican Party, this periodical later became the official organ of the Communist Party of Ireland, which was founded in 1921. The original slogan is usually attributed to Camille Desmoulins (1760–1794), the French revolutionary; but it appears, only slightly modified, in an essay written by Étienne de La Boétie (1530–1563) and first published in 1576.[
On the west side of the base of the Larkin monument is a quotation from the poem Jim Larkin by Patrick Kavanagh:
And Tyranny trampled them in Dublin's gutter
Until Jim Larkin came along and cried
The call of Freedom and the call of Pride
And Slavery crept to its hands and knees
And Nineteen Thirteen cheered from out the utter
Degradation of their miseries.
On the east side of the monument there is a quotation from Drums under the Windows by Seán O'Casey:
…He talked to the workers, spoke as only Jim Larkin could speak, not for an assignation with peace, dark obedience, or placid resignation, but trumpet-tongued of resistance to wrong, discontent with leering poverty, and defiance of any power strutting out to stand in the way of their march onward.