Socialist Party (Ireland)

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This article is about the party founded in 1996. For the party founded in 1949, see World Socialist Party (Ireland). For the party founded in 1971, see Socialist Party of Ireland (1971).
Socialist Party
Leader Collective Leadership
Founded 1996
Headquarters 141 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, Ireland
Newspaper The Socialist
Youth wing Socialist Youth
Ideology Democratic socialism
Marxism
Trotskyism
Leninism
Political position Far-left/Radical[1]
International affiliation Committee for a Workers' International
European affiliation European Anticapitalist Left
European Parliament group European United Left–Nordic Green Left
Colours Red, white
Dáil Éireann
3 / 166
Website
http://socialistparty.ie/
www.socialistpartyni.net
(Northern Ireland)
Politics of the Republic of Ireland
Political parties
Elections
Politics of Northern Ireland
Political parties
Elections

The Socialist Party (Irish: Páirtí Sóisialach) is a socialist political party in Ireland, active on both sides of the border. A member of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), it altered its registered name in 2014 to Stop the Water Tax – Socialist Party.[2] Two of its representatives sit in Dáil Éireann, with a third Teachta Dála sitting as a representative of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA).

The Socialist Party has been involved in the Anti-Bin Tax Campaign and the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes. Members of the party were jailed for their part in the former, while members have been arrested for their role in the latter. The Socialist Party has also been credited with bringing to light the GAMA construction scandal. It sat in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2014.

History[edit]

1996 - 2002 (27th/28th Dála)[edit]

The Socialist Party came to wider attention among the general public in 1996 when Joe Higgins polled just 252 votes behind victor Brian Lenihan, Jnr in the Dublin-West by-election.[3] The following year, Higgins was first elected to Dáil Éireann.[4]

2002 - 2007 (29th Dáil)[edit]

Socialist Party TDs Clare Daly (left) and Joe Higgins (centre), pictured here during the Boycott the Household Tax campaign in January 2012, were jailed for their part in the Anti-Bin Tax Campaign.

At the 2002 general election, Joe Higgins retained his Dublin West seat in Dáil Éireann.[5] Clare Daly narrowly missed out on gaining a second seat for the party in the Dublin North constituency.[6]

The Anti-Bin Tax Campaign came about at this time. On 19 September 2003, Higgins and Daly were sent to Mountjoy Prison for a month after refusing to abide by a High Court injunction relating to the blockading of bin lorries.[7][8][9][10]

At the 2004 local elections, the Socialist Party gained two council seats, with Mick Murphy being elected to South Dublin County Council and Mick Barry being elected to Cork City Council.[11][12] The party also retained their two previous seats (held by Daly and Ruth Coppinger) on Fingal County Council.[13][14] At the European election held on the same day, Joe Higgins received 23,218 (5.5%) votes in the Dublin constituency, but did not win a seat.[15]

Councillor Mick Murphy was responsible for bringing the GAMA construction scandal to light in October 2004.[16] This involved a group of Turkish workers being brought to Ireland by GAMA, a Turkish construction company. They were illegally underpaid and forced to work hours in breach of the EU Working Time Directive. Murphy discovered the workers living on the building site where they were employed. After contacting the local council, GAMA and trade union officials and remaining unenlightened, Murphy wrote a leaflet in English, had it translated into Turkish "mainly to say that we had no problem with them being here, and saying what GAMA had said", then threw it over the hoarding surrounding the site.[16] Murphy brought it to the attention of his party colleague Joe Higgins, who was then a TD for Dublin West, and Higgins raised the matter in Dáil Éireann on 8 February 2005, bringing public awareness to the workers' plight.[17] The exploitation included migrant Turkish construction workers bring employed on state projects, being paid as little as €2.20 an hour[18] (the minimum wage in Ireland was €7.00) while being forced to work up to 80 hours per week. This led to a strike by immigrant workers in Ireland.[19][20][21] The exploited workers each won tens of thousand of euro worth of unpaid wages and overtime.[22]

2007 - 2011 (30th Dáil)[edit]

At the 2007 general election, Joe Higgins lost his Dublin West seat and the Socialist Party was left without a TD for the first time since 1997.[23] The Party campaigned for a "no" vote the 2008 and 2009 referenda on the Treaty of Lisbon.[24][25]

At the 2009 European and local elections, Joe Higgins won a seat in the Dublin constituency with 50,510 (12.4%) first preference votes, as well as gaining a seat in the Castleknock local electoral area of Fingal County Council.[26][27] The party held its seats on Fingal County and Cork City Council (Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry respectively), while gaining one seat each on Balbriggan Town Council and Drogheda Borough Council.[28][29][30] However, the party lost Mick Murphy, its only councillor on South Dublin County Council.[31]

2011 - present (31st Dáil)[edit]

At the 2011 general election the Socialist Party returned two TDs to Dáil Éireann. Clare Daly was elected for the Dublin North constituency, while Joe Higgins regained his seat in Dublin West. The Socialist Party contested this election as part of the United Left Alliance (ULA), a political alliance which included both PBPA and WUAG, as well as independent activists. The Alliance won five seats in the national parliament.[32] Paul Murphy then debuted on the national and international stage when he was selected to replace Joe Higgins in the European Parliament, as is customary when MEPs leave during their term.[33] Following the death of Brian Lenihan the Second, the Socialist Party contested the 2011 Dublin West by-election, with its candidate Ruth Coppinger coming in third.[34] The Socialist Party also called for a referendum on the December 2011 EU deal, and said it would reject that same deal in such a vote.[35]

In 2012, legal advice was sought when it emerged that the expenses given to Higgins and Daly as TDs may have been used for travel outside their constituencies and journeys to the Dáil.[36] Public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin subsequently confirmed that TDs were, in fact, entitled to claim expenses for travel outside their constituencies and that Daly and Higgins were guilty of no wrongdoing.[37] The Socialist Party and ULA said the story was a "manufactured controversy", part of a "vindictive smear campaign by Independent Newspapers", owned by billionaire Denis O'Brien, the truth of which was indicated by the number of sensationalist pieces run by the newspaper company.[38][39][40]

Clare Daly resigned from the Socialist Party on 31 August 2012.[41] The Socialist Party associated Daly's resignation with the claim that "she placed more value on her political connection with Independent TD Mick Wallace than on the political positions and work of the Socialist Party"; however, this statement has been contested by Daly.[42][43] The Socialist Party left the ULA in January 2013.[44]

Socialist Party members contested the 2014 local elections as part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance.[45] Of particular note was the gaining of multiple seats on Limerick and Cork City Councils, "making it a national rather than Dublin-centric alliance".[1] The Dublin West by-election of the same day returned Ruth Coppinger to Dáil Éireann, giving Dublin West two Socialist Party TDs.[46] Paul Murphy was unsuccessful in retaining the Socialist Party's European seat at this time but was elected to Dáil Éireann that October after a "sensational" result in the Dublin South–West by-election, which the Sinn Féin candidate had been "hot favourite" to win.[47]

In 2015, water charge protestors, including party elected representatives Paul Murphy, Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy, were arrested.[48][49][50] The arrests led to accusations of "political policing" and sparked minor solidarity protests across Europe, including in London, Berlin, Vienna and Stockholm.[51][52][53]

Policies[edit]

According to its website, the Socialist Party "stands for the socialist alternative to the dictatorship of the markets – namely real democracy whereby ordinary people take centre stage in running society, with democratic public ownership of banks, of key sectors of the economy and industry, and a democratic plan of the economy to provide for the needs of people". It opposes the so-called "Social Partnership" deals and those in the trade union movement who advocate them, considering the agreements detrimental to the well-being of workers.[54] It also holds influence in the Northern Irish branch of the FBU, where its members played a key role in encouraging the FBU's split from the British Labour Party in 2004.[55]

The Socialist Party is involved in many community campaigns, including the 1996 Anti Water Tax Campaign, the 2003–2004 Anti-Bin Tax Campaign and the current Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes. It opposes the U.S-led wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, the occupation of Palestine, targeted killings and drone warfare in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere and continues to be active in campaigns against fascism, racism, low pay exploitation and religious sectarianism. They advocate on behalf of, and support, workers, women in the home, LGBT people and ethnic minorities.

The Socialist Party opposes the mass media focus on rape culture. Regarding the divided north, the Socialist Party opposes sectarian divisions between Protestants and Catholics and seeks to bring working class unity to both sides of the border. They argue that capitalism is incapable of overcoming sectarianism. They have opposed paramilitary threats with peaceful protest in a movement that set in motion the "peace process", a turn of events they resolutely support.[54]

Youth wing[edit]

Socialist Youth is the youth wing of the Socialist Party.[56]

List of newspapers and publications[edit]

  • The Socialist (formerly Socialist Voice, The Voice, and Militant) – Monthly newspaper
  • Socialist View (formerly Socialism 2000) – Quarterly Theoretical Journal
  • International Socialist VoiceE-Zine
  • Fingal Socialist – Free paper distributed in Northern and Western Dublin
  • Cork Socialist – Free paper distributed in Cork city

Election results[edit]

Dáil Éireann[edit]

Election Dáil First Preference Vote Vote % Seats
1997 28th 12,445 0.7%
1 / 166
2002 29th 14,896 0.8%
1 / 166
2007 30th 13,218 0.6%
0 / 166
2011 31st 26,770 1.2%
2 / 166

Northern Ireland Assembly[edit]

Election Assembly First Preference Vote Vote % Seats
1998 1st 789 0.1%
0 / 108
2003 2nd 343 0.0%
0 / 108
2007 3rd 473 0.1%
0 / 108
2011 4th 819 0.1%
0 / 108

Local[edit]

Election Country First Preference Vote Vote % Seats
1999 Republic of Ireland 5,312 0.4%
2 / 883
2004 Republic of Ireland 13,494 0.7%
4 / 883
2005 Northern Ireland 828 0.1%
0 / 582
2009 Republic of Ireland 16,052 0.9%
4 / 883
2011 Northern Ireland 682 0.1%
0 / 583
2014 Northern Ireland 272 0.0%
0 / 462
2014 Republic of Ireland Contested the election as part of Anti-Austerity Alliance

European[edit]

The Socialist Party has contested European elections in the South of Ireland but not in the North of Ireland..

Election First Preference Vote Vote % Seats
1999 10,619 0.8%
0 / 15
2004 23,218 1.3%
0 / 13
2009 50,510 2.7%
1 / 12
2014 29,953 1.8%
0 / 11

List of elected members[edit]

14 party members were elected as part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance in 2014.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Silke, Henry (14 June 2014). "Ireland: Left surge in South's local and European elections". International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Socialist Party is changing its name". TheJournal.ie. 11 March 2014. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Dublin West 1996". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Dublin West 1997". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Dublin West 2002". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Dublin North 2002". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  7. ^ Cunningham, Grainne; Dowling, Brian (20 September 2003). "Outrage over jailed TD's 'grandstand' bin protest". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2003. 
  8. ^ "Jail sentences for Joe Higgins and Clare Daly". BreakingNews.ie. 19 September 2003. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2003. 
  9. ^ Cunningham, Grainne (20 September 2003). "Jail will not break mass opposition, vow campaigners". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2003. 
  10. ^ Reilly, Jerome (19 October 2003). "Far left pulling the strings on bin charge campaign". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2003. 
  11. ^ "Tallaght Central 2004". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Cork City North Central 2004". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Swords 2004". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Mulhuddart 2004". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Dublin 2004". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  16. ^ a b McDonald, Frank; Sheridan, Kathy (2009). The Builders. Penguin. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-141-03780-6. 
  17. ^ Ibid.
  18. ^ "Gama says Martin had no right to investigate". RTÉ News. 19 April 2005. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2005. 
  19. ^ Wescott, Gareth (5 April 2005). "Hundreds of foreign workers take to streets over low pay". Irish Independent. Retrieved 5 April 2005. 
  20. ^ "Five-hour protest by Gama staff in Galway". RTÉ News. 5 April 2005. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2005. 
  21. ^ McDonald, Brian (6 April 2005). "Martin takes action as Gama sends workers back to Turkey". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 April 2005. 
  22. ^ "Higgins reacts to Lenihan 'kebabs' remark". RTÉ News. 18 May 2005. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2005. 
  23. ^ "Dublin West 2007". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "Left-wing groups launch anti-Lisbon campaign". The Belfast Telegraph. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2009. 
  25. ^ Brennan, Michael (14 May 2008). "Voting watchdog vows to clean up Lisbon debate". Irish Independent. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  26. ^ Guider, Ian (8 June 2009). "Ireland's Cowen Faces No-Confidence Vote After Poll". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 June 2009. .
  27. ^ "Fianna Fáil humiliated in Dublin". BreakingNews.ie. 8 June 2009. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2009. 
  28. ^ "Mulhuddart 2009". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  29. ^ "Cork City North Central 2009". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  30. ^ "Balbriggan Town Council 2009". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  31. ^ "Tallaght Central 2009". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  32. ^ Minihan, Mary (28 February 2011). "Higgins pledges to build new party of left as five elected under ULA banner". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  33. ^ "Murphy to replace Higgins as MEP". The Irish Times. 23 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  34. ^ Cullen, Paul (6 October 2011). "Socialists target Government's political agenda". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  35. ^ "Socialists call for referendum on EU deal". RTÉ News. 10 December 2011. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  36. ^ "Legal advice sought on TD expenses claims". RTÉ News. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  37. ^ McGee, Harry (20 October 2012). "Higgins entitled to rally expenses". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  38. ^ O'Connor, Niall (3 July 2012). "Pressure mounts on technical group in expenses fiasco". Evening Herald. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  39. ^ Brennan, Michael (4 July 2012). "Expenses not for TD's to travel to protests – Leinster House". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  40. ^ "Press Statement: Manufactured Dail travel expenses controversy will not divert from fight against unjust home taxes". 2 July 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  41. ^ "Clare Daly resigns from the Socialist Party". RTÉ News. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  42. ^ "Daly resigns from Socialist Party". The Irish Times. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  43. ^ "Clare Daly confirmation of resignation". 1 September 2012. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2012. I note with some regret the inaccurate content of the Socialist Party statement issued today. [...] I have the highest of regard for the members of the Socialist Party especially those past and present who worked tirelessly with me on numerous campaigns over the last 25 years. 
  44. ^ "Socialist Party withdraws from United Left Alliance". TheJournal.ie. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  45. ^ "Anti-Austerity Alliance launches election campaign". RTÉ News. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  46. ^ "Coppinger wins Dublin West by-election". RTÉ News. 24 May 2014. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  47. ^ O'Regan, Michael (12 October 2014). "Paul Murphy trumps Sinn Féin's Cathal King in Dublin South West". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2014. Anti-Austerity Alliance candidate Paul Murphy has won a sensational victory in the Dublin South West byelection. He defeated the hot favourite, Sinn Fein's Cathal King on the eight count, having trailed him earlier. 
  48. ^ Minihan, Mary (9 February 2015). "Arrest of Paul Murphy and others described as ‘way over the top’: Ruth Coppinger believes ‘over the top’ action by gardaí will ‘rebound completely’". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  49. ^ "Paul Murphy TD 'didn't think Government would be stupid enough to arrest him' - partner". Irish Independent. 9 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  50. ^ Clifford, Michael (10 February 2015). "Anti-water tax activist raid: Were the dawn swoops really necessary?". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  51. ^ "Protest at Irish embassy on 11th Feb". 10 February 2015. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  52. ^ "‘Political policing’: Arrest of Irish anti-austerity activists sparks London solidarity protest". RT. 10 February 2015. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  53. ^ "International protest against political policing in Ireland". 12 February 2015. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  54. ^ a b "About us". Socialist Party. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved February 2015. 
  55. ^ "A letter to the Fire Brigades' Union". World Socialism. September 2004. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved September 2004. 
  56. ^ "Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism – For a socialist future". Socialist Youth. Retrieved February 2015. 
  57. ^ "Ruth Coppinger". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  58. ^ "Joe Higgins". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  59. ^ "Paul Murphy". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 

External links[edit]