Irish Labor Party

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Labor Party
Páirtí Oibre to Lucht
Labor Party
Brendan Howlin
Party leader Alan Kelly
founding 1912
Headquarters Bloodstone Building
Sir John Rogerson's Quay
Dublin 2
Youth organization Labor Youth
Alignment Social democracy
Colours) red
Parliamentary seats
Dáil Éireann
2020 :
Seanad Éireann 2020:
Local government
in Ireland

International connections Progressive Alliance , Socialist International
European party SPE

The Irish Labor Party ( Irish : Páirtí an Lucht Oibre) is a social democratic party of the Republic of Ireland that was founded in 1912 as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress and describes itself as the oldest political party in Ireland. After historically losing votes in the 2016 and 2020 elections, the Labor Party is currently the fifth-strongest party in the country and was last involved in the government of Taoiseach Enda Kenny ( Fine Gael ) from 2011 to 2016 . In total, she has been involved in various Irish governments as a coalition partner for almost 20 years. With its former party president Michael D. Higgins , the party will appoint the Irish President for the second time on November 11, 2011 .

Parliamentary leader of the Labor Party


In 1912, James Connolly , James Larkin and William X. O'Brien founded the Labor Party as the political wing of the governing body of Irish trade unions, the Irish Trade Union Congress . The party's aim was to represent the working class in parliament under the Home Rule Bill of 1912, which provided Ireland with greater autonomy. However, after the crushed Dublin general strike , the union movement weakened, compounded by the emigration of Larkin and the execution of Connolly in 1916 .

After Larkin's emigration, O'Brien became the dominant figure in the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union and influential within the Confederation and Labor Party, which was led by Thomas Johnson . The Labor Party refused to vote in the 1918 election to avoid falling into the crossfire of the two largest parties, Sinn Féin and Irish Parliamentary Party , who saw the election as a referendum on Ireland's political future. The party also did not take part in the 1921 election and thus had no seat in the Dáil Éireann even during the heyday of the Irish independence movement .

The Irish Free State

The Anglo-Irish treaty split the party. Some members joined the opposing party in the Irish Civil War that followed, while O'Brien and Johnson encouraged members to support the treaty. In the 1922 election, in which the party participated for the first time, it immediately won 14 seats and became the third largest party. Until 1927 (when Fianna Fáil moved into the House of Commons) the Labor Party was the main opposition party in the House of Commons.

Larkin returned to Ireland in 1923, hoping to take over the chairmanship of the party, but O'Brien resisted. Larkin then joined the more radical wing of the party and in September 1923 founded the Irish Worker League .

In 1932, the Labor Party supported Eamon de Valera's first Fianna Fáil government, which promised a program of social reforms in line with Labor Party's vision. In the 1940s it appeared that the Labor Party could replace Fine Gael as the strongest opposition party. In the 1943 election, the party won 17 seats - the best ever result.

Separation of National Labor and first coalition government

The quarrel between Larkin and O'Brien grew more intense and irreconcilable over time. It finally led to the final split in the Labor Party and the trade union confederation in the 1940s. In 1944 O'Brien left the party and the trade union confederation and founded the National Labor Party . This move damaged the party especially in the next election that year, in which it lost more than half of its seats. Only after Larkin's death (1947) was it possible to attempt to reunite.

During this phase, the party also occasionally competed in elections in Northern Ireland and, with Gerry Fitt, even won a seat in the Northern Irish Parliament. Fitt left the party in 1964 and founded the Northern Ireland Republican Labor Party . Since then, the Labor Party has not competed in Northern Ireland.

From 1948 to 1951 and from 1954 to 1957 the Labor Party was the second largest coalition party in the (first and second) multi-party government in Ireland. William Norton , leader of the party at that time, received the office of Tánaiste and was Minister of Social Affairs.

Brendan Corish

In 1960 Brendan Corish became the new leader of the party and introduced more socialist approaches. Between 1973 and 1977 the Labor Party, still under Corish, was a coalition partner of the Fine Gael government. After losing the 1977 election, Corish resigned and was succeeded by Frank Cluskey .

The 1980s

From 1981 to 1987 (except for a few months in 1982) the Labor Party was a coalition partner of Fine Gael and thus a ruling party. During the last few years of this time, strict savings were the order of the day due to the poor economic and financial situation in the state and the Labor Party suffered particularly as a result of cuts in the health and social sectors. This resulted in a catastrophic election result of 6.4% in the 1987 election. Furthermore, votes were continuously lost to the newly formed Marxist Workers' Party .

In addition, there were extreme differences between the left and right wing of the party in the 1980s, particularly over the question of whether to form a coalition with either of the two major parties . At the party meeting in 1989, some socialist and Marxist activists were expelled from the party. These exclusions continued into the early 1990s - some of those excluded, including Joe Higgins , subsequently formed the Socialist Party .

Mary Robinson and Rainbow Coalition

In 1990 Mary Robinson became Ireland's first female president. Robinson ran as an independent candidate, but was originally proposed by the Labor Party. She was not only the first female president, but at the same time - apart from Douglas Hyde - the first head of state who did not come from the ranks of Fianna Fáil.

In 1990 the Labor Party continued to associate with Jim Kemmy's Democratic Socialist Party and in 1992 with Declan Bree's Independent Socialist Party .

In 1993 the Labor Party returned to government as Fianna Fáil's coalition partner. Dick Spring became Tánaiste and Secretary of State. But just two years later the coalition failed and the Labor Party joined forces with Fine Gael and Democratic Left to form the new government coalition (the so-called Rainbow Coalition ) - mind you, without a new election having taken place; a unique event in Irish politics, which was made possible by various seat shifts through by-elections. Dick Spring kept both posts.

Merging with Democratic Left and the New Millennium

The poor performance in the 1997 election (half of the seats were lost) and the indisputable 4th place (out of 5) for Labor candidate Adi Roche in the presidential election in the same year finally led to Dick Spring's resignation. Ruairi Quinn succeeded him and immediately began negotiations on a merger with Democratic Left , which finally took place in 1999. The new party kept the name Labor Party.

Quinn resigned as leader in 2002 (after another disappointing election with only small gains of around 2% compared to the historic low) and the former Democratic Left - Teachta Dála Pat Rabbitte was elected - for the first time directly by party members. In June 2004, in the European Parliament elections , Proinsias De Rossa was able to defend the seat of the Labor Party. This was the only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing choice.

After the party did not win any seats in the 2007 elections and even lost votes slightly, Rabbitte resigned as party chairman. He was followed by Eamon Gilmore .

In the 2011 elections, the ruling Fianna Fáil party lost significant votes, particularly as a result of the financial crisis, while the Labor Party achieved its best-ever election result nationwide and increased the number of its seats in the Dáil Éireann from 20 to 37. She then entered a coalition government with Fine Gael , in which she provided five ministers.

On October 27, 2011, Labor candidate Michael D. Higgins won the presidential election . The party will appoint the Irish President for the second time from November 11, 2011.

The party suffered major losses in the regional elections and the European Parliament elections on May 23, 2014 (EU: all 3 seats lost; regional elections: shrunk from 132 seats to 51 seats). The previous chairman Eamon Gilmore resigned. Joan Burton was elected as the new chairman .

In the 2016 elections to the Dáil Éireann , the Irish Labor Party suffered a historic loss of 6.6% and lost 30 of its 37 seats. Joan Burton then resigned as party leader and was replaced by Brendan Howlin .

The negative trend continued in the 2020 elections for the Dáil Éireann , in which the Irish Labor Party achieved the worst result in its history with 4.4%. Well-known politicians such as former Tánaiste Joan Burton and former Education Secretary Jan O'Sullivan lost their mandate. Brendan Howlin then resigned as party chairman. Alan Kelly was elected to succeed him.

Election results

year choice Share of votes Seats
1973 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 1973 13.7%
1977 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 1977 11.6%
1981 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 1981 9.9%
Feb 1982 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann Feb. 1982 9.1%
Nov 1982 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann Nov. 1982 9.4%
1987 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 1987 6.4%
1989 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 1989 9.5%
1992 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 1992 19.3%
1997 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 1997 10.4%
2002 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 2002 10.8%
2007 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 2007 10.1%
2011 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 2011 19.5%
2016 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 2016 6.6%
2020 IrelandIreland Dáil Éireann 2020 4.4%

See also

Web links

Commons : Irish Labor Party  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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