William Walker

(1871—1918) trade union official and socialist

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(1871–1918), socialist. Born in Belfast, the son of a shipyard worker, he was apprenticed after elementary school as a joiner in Harland & Wolff. He represented the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners on Belfast Trades Council. A unionist politically, he helped found the Belfast branch of the Independent Labour Party in 1893. He was elected a poor law guardian in 1899 and a city councillor in 1903. In 1904 he became president of the Irish Trade Union Congress. He was an executive member of the British Labour Party. In 1905 he narrowly failed to get elected in the North Belfast by-election, the first of several attempts at getting into parliament. His input into the Connolly-Walker controversy on socialism and nationalism, in the socialist paper Forward, is a classic statement of the unionist-labour outlook subsequently known as Walkerism. In 1911, Walker became an official in the new National Insurance scheme.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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