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Labour – a case of managed decline?

An obsession with niche issues that are of no interest to the broader electorate

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott
The Irish Times - Letters to the Editor.

Sir, – Your analysis (“Labour and the Social Democrats: is it time for a conscious coupling?”, June 13th) appears to conclude that Labour had quite a good election, a net loss of one seat, but a detailed look at the results suggests otherwise.

While the party gained ground in Dublin, it lost significant ground in rural constituencies, continuing a trend which began with the bizarre decision to oust Alan Kelly as leader in 2022.

Of the party’s 56 council seats, just 26 are outside of the main cities. Labour now has no representation in 10 counties, a position which was unthinkable even during its previous nadir in the late 1980s.

The party’s gain of an MEP seat in Dublin masked a truly shocking performance in the other two constituencies.


In the Midlands North West constituency, where as recently as 2016 the party had six Dáil seats, the party could only muster 7,000 votes, less than half the vote secured by the journalist John Waters. In Ireland South, Labour was outpolled by a virtually unknown hard-right candidate.

Labour’s continuing retreat into south Dublin and its obsession with niche issues which are of no interest to the broader electorate may bring it short-lived gains in the capital, but is significantly contributing to the party’s slow death as a political force. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 3.