Diarmaid Ferriter: Labour Party not entitled to survive but would be missed

Party’s history and contribution, collectively, amount to something substantial

 Ivana Bacik: The soon-to-be-appointed Labour Party leader.  Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ivana Bacik: The soon-to-be-appointed Labour Party leader. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Exactly a century ago, the Irish Labour Party was scrambling to make itself ready and relevant as a general election approached. Having stood aside from the transformative 1918 election, it was under pressure to do so again, from within and without, as Civil War clouds gathered. But a special meeting of the party and the Trades Union Congress it was tied to voted 115 to 82 in favour of participation.

That general election held in June 1922 was Labour’s best day; it achieved 21.4 per cent of first preference votes, a feat not repeated. Seventeen of its 18 candidates were elected, and this newspaper declared the party had “arrived as an important and highly organised factor in national affairs”.

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