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Ernest Kavanagh (1884-1916)

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EK

"The Angel of Freedom", cartoon from the Irish Citizen attacking John Redmond's stance on women's suffrage, 1913

Ernest Kavanagh, born Dublin, 1884, was a political cartoonist who signed his cartoons "E.K." Beginning in 1912 he drew cartoons for the James Larkin-edited Irish Worker (the official newspaper of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, where Kavanagh worked as an insurance clerk), often alongside satirical poems by his sister Maeve Cavanagh MacDowell. He came into his own as a cartoonist during the 1913 Dublin Lockout, savagely attacking William Martin Murphy and the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and later, under James Connolly's editorship, attacked John Redmond's policy of recruiting Irishmen to fight for Britain in the First World War. He also drew pro-women's suffrage cartoons for The Irish Citizen, and contributed to Fianna and Irish Freedom. His work was more polemical than funny, and concerned with vilifying villains rather than glorifying heroes. He was shot dead, presumably by a British sniper, on the steps of Liberty Hall, headquarters of the ITGWU, on 25 April 1916, during the Easter Rising: a civilian casualty, not a combatant, although he supported the Rising.

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