The British Labour Party and twentieth-century Ireland

The cause of Ireland, the cause of Labour

By Laurence Marley

The British Labour Party and twentieth-century Ireland


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9601-3
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: December 2015
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / National, Society & social sciences / Political parties, Society & social sciences / Central government, Politics, United States of America, USA, Political parties, Central / national / federal government, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties


At the beginning of the twentieth century, the British Labour Party was broadly supportive of Irish home rule. However, from the end of the First World War, Labour anticipated a place in government, and as a modern, maturing party in British politics, it developed a more calculated set of responses towards Ireland. With contributions from a range of distinguished Irish and British scholars, this collection of essays provides the first full treatment of the historical relationship between the Labour Party and Ireland in the last century, from Keir Hardie to Tony Blair. By widening the lens on Labour's responses to the 'Irish question' over an entire century, it offers an original perspective on longer-term dispositions in Labour mentalities towards Ireland and on the relationship between 'these islands'. It will prove essential reading for those with an interest in modern Irish and British history, Anglo-Irish relations, and the current Northern Ireland peace process.


'Laurence Marley and the contributors have put together an excellent collection of well-edited and well-researched chapters.this book is highly recommended reading for students of political developments in Ireland during this era.'
Neil Pye, SSLH and Independent Researcher, Labour History Review, vol. 81 No. 2, July 2016

'All of the chapters to this volume are valuable contributions to our knowledge of the Labour Party and Ireland.every chapter was worthy of inclusion.'
John Newsinger, Race and Class Vol 58, No 3


Introduction - Laurence Marley
1. A tangled legacy: the Irish 'inheritance' of British Labour - Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh
2. Uneasy Transitions: Irish nationalism, the rise of Labour and the Catholic Herald, 1888-1914 - Joan Allen
3. The British Labour Party, Belfast Labour and home rule, 1900-14 - Emmet O'Connor
4. 'A parliamentary victory': Ramsay MacDonald and Irish republican deportees, 1923 - Ivan Gibbons
5. 'That link must be preserved, but there are other problems': the British Labour Party and Derry, 1942-62 - Máirtín Ó Catháin
6. British Labour and developments in Ireland in the immediate post-war years - Peter Collins
7. 'Not foreign': the Republic of Ireland Act, 1948, and Labour's response to the Irish in Britain - David Shaw
8. 'Where the Tories rule': Geoffrey Bing, MP, and partition - Bob Purdie
9. The British Labour Party and the tragedy of Northern Ireland Labour - Aaron Edwards
10. 'Why don't they all just go away?' Reflections upon aspects of Labour policy towards Northern Ireland, 1966-1970: a personal narrative - Kevin McNamara
11. 'Withdrawal on the table?' Labour government policy on Northern Ireland, 1974-76 - Niall Ó Dochartaigh
12. Labour and police primacy in Northern Ireland, 1974-79 - Stuart C. Aveyard
13. Militant tendency, Ireland and the British Labour Party - John Cunningham
14. Some intellectual origins of the Labour left's thought about Ireland, c.1979-97 - Stephen Howe
15. 'The Irish dimension': Anglo-Irish relations and the British Labour Party, 1981-94 - Melinda Sutton
16. 'Leaving the soundbites at home?' New Labour and Northern Ireland - Kevin Bean


Laurence Marley is Lecturer in Modern Irish and British History at the National University of Ireland, Galway

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