Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Labour And The Island Of Ireland

 Ireland political map
The Irish Labour Party had a spell in politics when it was as successful in electoral terms as Sinn Fein has just now become. Sinn Fein having acquired 37 seats, which is the same number which Labour acquired in the 2011 General Election and when a Fine Gael-Irish Labour coalition was then founded. I give below a link to the Irish Labour Party's recent Election Manifesto, which seems to me to have attractive features. But Irish Labour have only now obtained six seats. There should be scope in the politics of the island for Labour Party activities to be aimed at establishing a good relationship between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. But although people in Northern Ireland can now join the UK Labour Party it has no similar constituency structure to the rest of the UK. When Dick Spring was the leader of the Irish Labour Party he pointed out that it was easier to unite one set of people living on two islands than to unite two sets of people living in one island. But as the majority of the people in Northern Ireland are not currently in favour of a united Ireland, two mobilised Labour Parties across the island could fruitfully work together to extend and improve relationships. This is especially required given Brexit, where within the EU the Irish Government needs to be pressed to work to overcome any future form of border controls. Given Sinn Fein's history and its hard line united Ireland stance, socialists should be looking instead for the alternative avenues I suggest. I need to find out whether any of the candidates for our Labour Leadership agree with me. See - https://www.labour.ie/manifesto/building-an-equal-society/
Hat tip: Geology.com - the source of the above map.