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Led by Murphy over four hundred of the city's employers retaliated by requiring their workers to sign a pledge not to be a member of the ITGWU and not to engage in sympathetic strikes. However as a result of a libel award against him won by William O'Brien which he had refused to pay he was an undischarged bankrupt and could not take up his seat. Both had craft unions for skilled workers but Larkin's main aim was to unionise the unskilled workers as well.
He and his family later moved to a small cottage in Burren southern County Down. Growing up in poverty he received little formal education and began working in a variety of jobs while still a child.