When I came to Rosie first, years and years ago, all I knew about Rosie is she was an activist in 1913, she fought in 1916, she gave the bureau of military history witness statement. That was it.
In the course of doing the research on these women particularly firstly on the bridge campaign and then she is one of the 77 women. We found her family, her nephew, John McGray, a lovely man, discovered that they have lots of stories about Rosie Hackett, they also have an old taped interview with Rosie that John had done with her about her life. She spent her life in the trade union she ran the SIPTU shop or the ITGWU first shop beside Liberty Hall until she retired in the 1970’s she was given a gold medal by the Trade Union for her long service. But everybody thinks that Rosie was a 1913 Jacobs factory girl that went out on strike and a 1916 fighter, rebel in the royal college of surgeons. And she was so much more than that and she deserved to have the bridge named after her. She was one of the reorganisers of the Irish women’s workers union after the rising, the reorganiser of the Irish citizen army after the rising. In 1917 she and Jennie Davis and Helena Maloney and Jennie Shanahan, Rosie and Jennie best of friends. On the 12th may 1917 they barricaded themselves into what was left of liberty hall, it had been pretty much damaged in 1916 and hung a big banner off the wall saying “James Connolly murdered 12th May 1916” and held off, Rosie says in her witness statement, 400 police men, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but they held off the police for 4 hours and a huge crowd gathered on the other side, so you could say that Jennie Shanahan, Rosie Hackett, both of them ex Jacobs factory workers, inner city working class women who had very basic education went out to work at 14/15 took on the might of the policing power in Dublin City for hours on the 12th May 1917 and made one of the first commemorative actions, that was the first commemoration of 1916. They were also a part of a whole crowd of women at Easter 1917 who tried to go round the city and put tri-colours at various places where the rising happened, GPO, College of Surgeons. They were all in Kathleen Lynn’s car, she was one of the few women who had a car and they did that.