Born in 1892 she became a messenger in Jacob’s biscuit factory in Dublin. She joined the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union when it was founded in 1909 and less than a year later she was one of 3,000 women in the factory who went on strike and won a pay rise. An activist, she encouraged the women yet again to join in the epic labour struggle – the 1913 Dublin Lockout which lasted more than four months – and saw some 20,000 workers on strike. When she was dismissed from Jacob’s factory she trained as a printer.
She was one of the small group who endeavoured to print the 1916 Proclamation on a faulty printing press and brought the first copy, still damp, to James Connolly.
She was a member of the Irish Citizen Army and served with Constance Markievicz and Michael Mallin when they occupied the Royal College of Surgeons in the Easter Rebellion and was sent to Kilmainham Jail. On her release she re-founded the Irish Women Workers’ Union with Louie Bennett and Helen Chenevix and for years she served as clerk in the union which, at its peak, organised about 70,000 women, including bookbinders, contract cleaners, laundry, print and electronic workers. Later she took charge of the ITGWU’s newspaper shop on Eden Quay. In 1970 Hackett received a gold medal in recognition of her 60 years’ service to the Irish trade union movement yet she is almost forgotten in today’s world.
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Image of the Irish Women Workers’ Union taken from Come Here to Me.
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