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|
Solidarity–People Before Profit
Cross-Community Labour Alternative
|European affiliation||European Anti-Capitalist Left|
|International affiliation||Committee for a Workers' International|
|European Parliament group||European United Left–Nordic Green Left|
www.socialistpartyni.org (Northern Ireland)
The Socialist Party is a Trotskyist political party in Ireland, active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Internationally, it is affiliated to the Trotskyist Committee for a Workers' International. Party members Ruth Coppinger, Mick Barry and Paul Murphy, were elected as TDs in the 32nd Dáil under the banner of "AAA-PBP". The Socialist Party has been involved in various populist campaigns including 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 had a seat in the European Parliament from 2009 to 2014. In 2015, the party received state funding of €132,000.
From 2014, the party's election candidates in the Republic stood for office on behalf of the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), now Solidarity, which was a registered party in its own right between 2014 and 2015 and which continues to contest elections as part of Solidarity–People Before Profit (S–PBP).
- 1 History
- 2 Policies
- 3 Youth wing
- 4 List of newspapers and publications
- 5 Election results
- 6 Oireachtas members
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
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.
Foundation and Split from the Labour Party
The party was founded in 1972 as a tendency within the Labour Party, grouped around the newsletter Militant Irish Monthly. The tendency organised within the Labour Party throughout the 1970s and 1980s, attempting to win the party towards socialism, and briefly controlled Labour Youth from 1983 to 1986. People associated with it include Dermot Connolly, Clare Daly, Finn Geaney, Joe Higgins and John Throne. In the late 1980s, a number of known members were expelled from Labour. In 1989 they established an independent party, adopting the title Militant Labour—also used by other sections of the Committee for a Workers' International at the time. In 1996 the party merged fully with the Labour and Trade Union Group of Northern Ireland and changed its name to the Socialist Party. The Socialist Party has been particularly successful at building electoral support in the Republic of Ireland. It found it harder to gain an electoral foothold in Northern Ireland, but it has maintained a minor presence in the trade union movement there, as well as a youth wing.
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)
At the 2002 general election, Joe Higgins retained his Dublin West seat in Dáil Éireann. Clare Daly narrowly missed out on gaining a second seat for the party in the Dublin North constituency.
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), an alliance of far-left parties which included both People Before Profit (PBP) 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 as the two parties did not stand candidates in the same constituencies.[dead link]
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 Eurosceptic.
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. 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|
1 / 166
1 / 166
0 / 166
2 / 166
3 / 158
Northern Ireland Assembly
|Election||Assembly||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats|
0 / 108
0 / 108
0 / 108
0 / 108
|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
Current TDs who are members of the Solidarity–People Before Profit:
- Ruth Coppinger – Dublin West
- Mick Barry – Cork North-Central
- Paul Murphy – Dublin South-West
- Category:Socialist Party (Ireland) politicians
- List of political parties in the United Kingdom opposed to austerity
- 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.
- Routledge Handbook of European Elections. Edited by Donatella M.Viola. Published by Routledge. First published in 2016, in Oxon, United Kingdom. Accessed via Google Books.
- "Ireland, Brexit and why the EU must be opposed". Socialist Party. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- About us. Socialist Party (Ireland) (official website). Retrieved 25 July 2017.
- Irish Times – Harry McGee. “ For anybody who has not been intimately involved with the Socialist Workers Party or the Socialist Party, you would need to have a PhD in semantics and rhetoric to winkle out the actual ideological difference between them. They are both Trotskyist and advocate permanent revolution and political agitation through working class mass action in capitalist societies such as Ireland.”
- SIPO - funding of party leaders
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- [https://web.archive.org/web/20171112185801/http://campus.ie/surviving-college/politics/rise-far-left Archived 12 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine.]] Campus, "The far-left, Ireland’s socialist TDs, may be easily found if one moves the eyes to the back benches of opposition. Here sits three Socialist Party deputies, a Socialist Workers Party TD and United Left socialists, Joan Collins and Clare Daly."
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- "Legal advice sought on TD expenses claims". RTÉ News. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
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- O'Connor, Niall (3 July 2012). "Pressure mounts on technical group in expenses fiasco". Evening Herald. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
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- "Press Statement: Manufactured Dail travel expenses controversy will not divert from fight against unjust home taxes". 2 July 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 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.
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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.
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.net /analysis-news /stormont /assembly-election-what-alternative-to-the-status-quo /[dead link]
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- "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:
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- "Paul Murphy". ElectionsIreland.org. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
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