Socialist Party (Ireland)
|Split from||Labour Party|
|Headquarters||141 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, Ireland|
|Youth wing||Socialist Youth|
|Political position||Left-wing to Far-left|
|National affiliation||Anti-Austerity Alliance
Cross-Community Labour Alternative
|European affiliation||European Anticapitalist Left|
|International affiliation||Committee for a Workers' International|
|European Parliament group||European United Left–Nordic Green Left|
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The Socialist Party (Irish: Páirtí Sóisialach) is a Trotskyist political party in Ireland, active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Its official name on the Dáil Éireann register of political parties is Stop the Water Tax – Socialist Party.
The party was formed by former members of the Labour Party, collectively known as the Militant Tendency, who were expelled in 1989 having been accused of Trotskyist entryism. They formed Militant Labour, which became the Socialist Party in 1996. The party are members of the Committee for a Workers' International, a Trotskyist international headquartered in London.
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.
Since 2014, the party's election candidates in the Republic have all stood for office on behalf of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), which was a registered party in its own right between 2014 and 2015 and which continues to contest elections as part of Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit (AAA-PBP). Three Socialist Party/AAA representatives sit in Dáil Éireann as AAA–PBP TDs. The party's candidates in Northern Ireland have stood for election as part of Cross-Community Labour Alternative since 2016.
- 1 History
- 2 Policies
- 3 Youth wing
- 4 List of newspapers and publications
- 5 Election results
- 6 List of elected members
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Foundation and Split from the Labour Party
While at university, Joe Higgins joined the Labour Party and became active in Militant, a Trotskyist group that operated in the Labour Party. Militant was a strong opponent of coalition politics which included TDs Emmet Stagg and Michael D. Higgins. Joe Higgins was elected to the Administrative Council of the Labour Party by the membership in the 1980s. In 1989, Higgins was expelled along with thirteen other members of Militant. The group left the party and formed Militant Labour.
1996–2002 (27th and 28th Dáil)
Militant Labour was renamed the Socialist Party in 1996, and came to wider attention among the general public when Joe Higgins polled just 252 votes behind victor Brian Lenihan, Jnr in the Dublin-West by-election. In the general election of the following year, Higgins was elected to Dáil Éireann for the first time.
2002–2007 (29th Dáil)
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.
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. The party also retained their two previous seats (held by Daly and Ruth Coppinger) on Fingal County Council. 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.
Councillor Mick Murphy was responsible for bringing the GAMA construction scandal to light in October 2004. 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. 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. The exploitation included migrant Turkish construction workers bring employed on state projects, being paid as little as €2.20 an hour (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. The exploited workers each won tens of thousand of euro worth of unpaid wages and overtime.
2007–2011 (30th Dáil)
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. The Party campaigned for a "no" vote the 2008 and 2009 referenda on the Treaty of Lisbon.
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. 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. However, the party lost Mick Murphy, its only councillor on South Dublin County Council.
2011–2016 (31st Dáil)
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 People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA) and Workers and Unemployed Action Group (WUAG), as well as independent activists. The Alliance won five seats in the national parliament. Higgins resigned his European Parliament seat, and Paul Murphy was selected by the party to replace him. Following the death of Brian Lenihan, Jnr, the Socialist Party contested the 2011 Dublin West by-election, with its candidate Ruth Coppinger coming in third. The Socialist Party also called for a referendum on the December 2011 EU deal, which it opposed.
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. 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. The Socialist Party and ULA said the story was a "manufactured controversy", part of a "vindictive smear campaign by Independent Newspapers", which were owned by billionaire Denis O'Brien.
Clare Daly resigned from the Socialist Party in August 2012, following a dispute over her support of Independent TD Mick Wallace, whom the party had called on to resign after the revelation of tax irregularities. The Socialist Party left the ULA in January 2013.
Socialist Party members contested the 2014 local elections as part of the Anti-Austerity Alliance. The party gained seats on Limerick and Cork City Councils, making it "a national rather than Dublin-centric alliance". The Dublin West by-election of the same day returned Ruth Coppinger to Dáil Éireann, giving Dublin West two Socialist Party TDs. 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 surprise victory in the Dublin South-West by-election, which the Sinn Féin candidate had been favourite to win.
The party altered its registered name in 2014 to Stop the Water Tax – Socialist Party. In 2015, water charge protestors, including party elected representatives Paul Murphy, Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy, were arrested. The arrests led to accusations of "political policing" and sparked minor solidarity protests across Europe, including in London, Berlin, Vienna and Stockholm.
2016–present (32nd Dail)
In the 2016 general election Murphy and Coppinger were re-elected in Dublin South-West and Dublin West, respectively, and Barry was elected in Cork North-Central, all of them running as Anti-Austerity Alliance–People Before Profit members.
For the 2016 Assembly Election, the Socialist Party in Northern Ireland supported Cross-Community Labour Alternative and critically called for a vote for the People Before Profit Alliance as the two parties did not stand candidates in the same constituencies.
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. 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, as well as influence in NIPSA with members in the NIPSA Broad Left faction.
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 claim to advocate on behalf of, and support, workers, women in the home, LGBT people and ethnic minorities.
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. However the Socialist Party take a critical view of the Good Friday Agreement and other subsequent initiatives, claiming it further entrenches and institutionalises sectarianism and doesn't work towards solving the fundamental causes of the conflict.
List of newspapers and publications
- The Socialist (formerly Socialist Voice, The Voice, and Militant) – Monthly newspaper
- Socialist View (formerly Socialism 2000) – Quarterly Theoretical Journal
- International Socialist Voice – E-Zine
- Fingal Socialist – Free paper distributed in Northern and Western Dublin
- Cork Socialist – Free paper distributed in Cork city
|Election||Dáil||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats|
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0 / 166
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Northern Ireland Assembly
|Election||Assembly||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats|
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|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
0 / 582
|2009||Republic of Ireland||16,052||0.9%||
4 / 883
0 / 583
0 / 462
|2014||Republic of Ireland||Contested the election as part of Anti-Austerity Alliance[note 1]|
The Socialist Party has contested European elections in the Republic of Ireland but not in Northern Ireland..
|Election||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats|
0 / 15
0 / 13
1 / 12
0 / 11
List of elected members
- Ruth Coppinger, TD – Dublin West
- Mick Barry, TD – Cork North–Central
- Paul Murphy, TD – Dublin South-West 
- All under the Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit joint list
- Category:Socialist Party (Ireland) politicians
- List of political parties in the United Kingdom opposed to austerity
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- 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.
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- "Legal advice sought on TD expenses claims". RTÉ News. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- McGee, Harry (20 October 2012). "Higgins entitled to rally expenses". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- O'Connor, Niall (3 July 2012). "Pressure mounts on technical group in expenses fiasco". Evening Herald. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- Brennan, Michael (4 July 2012). "Expenses not for TD's to travel to protests – Leinster House". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- "Press Statement: Manufactured Dail travel expenses controversy will not divert from fight against unjust home taxes". 2 July 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- "Clare Daly resigns from the Socialist Party". RTÉ News. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Daly resigns from Socialist Party". The Irish Times. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "Socialist Party withdraws from United Left Alliance". TheJournal.ie. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Anti-Austerity Alliance launches election campaign". RTÉ News. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- "Coppinger wins Dublin West by-election". RTÉ News. 24 May 2014. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- 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.
- "The Socialist Party is changing its name". TheJournal.ie. 11 March 2014. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015.
- 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.
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- "Protest at Irish embassy on 11th Feb". 10 February 2015. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- "'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.
- "International protest against political policing in Ireland". 12 February 2015. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- McEnroe, Juno (29 February 2016). "A political earthquake, the collapse of the two-party system". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- "About us". Socialist Party. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in:
- "A letter to the Fire Brigades' Union". World Socialism. September 2004. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved September 2004. Check date values in:
- "Left wins majority on General Council of North's largest union". Socialist Party. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Northern Ireland: 20 years after the ceasefires". Socialist Party. Retrieved July 2015. Check date values in:
- "Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism – For a socialist future". Socialist Youth. Retrieved February 2015. Check date values in:
- "Ruth Coppinger". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- "Paul Murphy". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
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