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The Irish Labour Party 1922-73

Niamh Puirseil (author)
Publication date:
26th April 2007

Author Biography

NIAMH PUIRSEIL is joint editor of Saothar, the journal of the Irish Labour History Society and a former Research Fellow in the Centre for Contemporary Irish History, Trinity College Dublin.


The first fifty years of the state saw Ireland change dramatically, and the Irish Labour Party changed with it. Using a wealth of new material, Niamh Puirseil traces the party's fortunes through its first fifty years in the Dail, from its perceived role as the 'political wing of the St Vincent de Paul' to its promise that the 1970s would be socialist. As well as examining the competing currents in the party itself, she also looks at Labour's relationship with different organisations and movements, including trade unions, republicans, the far left, the Catholic Church, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, as well as with other Social Democratic parties in Britain and Northern Ireland. "The Irish Labour Party, 1922-1973" is an outstanding contribution to the political history of twentieth-century Ireland. Over the course of the book, Niamh Puirseil charts the ever-depressing fortunes of the Labour party. Her exhaustive research provides a penetrating analysis of the myriad personalities and structures of the Labour Party, and shows a new picture of a party that seemed throughout the period to be hell bent on pressing the self-destruct button.This book offers a fresh and insightful look at a party riven by factions throughout its existence, and one that never reached its potential for a variety of reasons all outlined here. This book marks a major contribution to our understanding, not simply of the Labour Party, but of twentieth-century Ireland itself.