Emmet O'Connor is senior lecturer in the School of English, History, and Politics in the University of Ulster, Magee College, Derry.
This is a new edition of Emmet O'Connor's classic and pioneering work on Irish labour history, providing an introduction for the general reader and a synopsis for the specialist. The first edition, which covered 1824 to 1960, has been updated to 2000 with the inclusion of three new chapters on developments in the Republic and Northern Ireland. In addition to providing a challenging overview of labour's past, O'Connor addresses industrial relations and political issues of contemporary relevance. He has taken full account of new research on Labour and argued that events in Ireland can only be understood in an international context. The text also features pen portraits of over fifty leading personalities of the left and the trade union movement. This book will be indispensable to undergraduates, labour activists, and those interested in labour's place in modern Ireland.
- For Trade and Parliament, 1824-48
- The Unmaking of the Irish Working Class, 1849-88
- New Unionism and Old, 1889-1906
- Larkinism and Easter Week, 1907-16
- Syndicalism, 1917-23
- Unfinished Business, 1924-39
- The Chronic Made Acute, 1939-45
- Labour in Twain, 1946-59
- Avoiding the Issue
- Northern Labour, 1920-64
- Modernism, 1960-87
- Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism, 1987-2000
- Unity or Rights? Navigating the Northern Crisis, 1965-2000
‘This is a hugely important book which should be set reading for all undergraduate students of Irish history. It is a lamentation of why radicalism was failed by a party or parties purporting to share and espouse it. Furthermore, it is a call to re-read Irish history to provide answers that traditional narratives have hitherto not provided.’
Irish Studies Review
‘This is a superb book that will continue to provoke debate and discussion, and remains essential reading for those interested in the history of the Irish labour movement.’
Fintan Lane, History Ireland
'A Labour History of Ireland, in short, is a stunning achievement. In both breadth of research and depth of analysis, this volume is unrivalled in Irish labour history. To deploy a cliché, this is essential reading for the specialist and the general reader alike.'
Irish Economic and Social History Vol. XL 2013
'O’Connor has, once again, done Irish labour history a great service by writing this book. In his preface he points out that Irish labour history needs to develop further. Our colleagues in other countries have moved on to look at issues like working life, leisure, gender, and further to issues of race and transnational studies. Perhaps this book will inspire some to pick up the torch and take it further.'
'It is not a sentimental read. O’Connor pulls no punches in his criticism of those who had seen nationalism as the only obstacle to ‘normal’ labour politics in Ireland and few historical characters escape his sharp pen. Agree with him or not, this is an indispensable study.'
'characteristic scholarship and independent reflective analysis'
15 March 2012
'The first edition of this classic work by Ireland’s most distinguished labour historian, Emmet O’Connor, was published in 1992. Back then, the terminal date for the book was 1965. For this thoroughly revised, rewritten, re-researched and extended version, existing chapters have been laden with new material and perspectives, and three new chapters have been added. The result is an even more significant and still highly readable work of scholarship. … O’Connor modestly calls this work ‘an introduction for the general reader and a synopsis for the specialist’ (p. xii). In fact, it is more than that, since the author has the enviable knack of blending together intelligent generalisation with rich examples drawn from multiple original materials. The end product is richly satisfying. … Whilst influenced by British labour history, O’Connor has also produced a book which is very much of Ireland and for Ireland. … This lucid, beautifully written book, is full of barbs and fizzes. Underpinned by a wry humour and a talent for sharp insightful judgements, the work is a must for labour historians. It is also necessary reading more broadly for Irish historians, since it provides a lens onto the Irish past which is not readily found in accounts too often drawn to crises of modernisation, nationalism and so on. … For those outside of Ireland who wish to bring that country into their frame of analysis, O’Connor’s book will be the indispensable first port of call.'