Labour Party (Caldia)

Labour Party
Páirtí an Lucht Oibre
LeaderSeán Ó Caoláin
Founded2001
Preceded byIndustrial Labour Party
Socialist Party
Youth wingLabour Youth Association
IdeologyDemocratic socialism
Eco-socialism
Left-wing populism
Eucloscepticism
Political positionLeft-wing
Euclean Parliament groupMixed Radical Left
Colours     Dark Red
Seanad Glítteann
0 / 60
Comhthionól Náisiúnta
8 / 399
Euclean Parliament
0 / 20

The Labour Party (Ghaillish: Páirtí an Lucht Oibre) is a democratic socialist political party in Caldia. The party was founded in September 2001 by a merger of the Industrial Labour Party and the Socialist Party.

Since its establishment, the party has never been part of a government at the national level. It has a complicated relationship with the Social Democratic Party and has frequently rejected cooperation. The party supports state-ownership and is opposed to privatization. It advocates for the expansion of government services and increase public expenditure.

It had its best ever showing in the 2017 election when it became the fourth-largest party. The party saw its seat count reduced by 20 seats in the 2019 snap election, its worst election on record. Currently, it is the fifth-largest party in the Comhthionól Náisiúnta. It is also represented at a county and municipal level.

The Labour Party is a member of the Mixed Radical Left group in the Euclean Parliament. Prior to the 2019 Euclean elections, it sent one MEP and was part of the now-defunct People's Alliance of the Euclean Left.

As of 2019, the party has over 12,000 registered members. The number has steadily decreased from a high point in 2017. Support for the party has fallen as a result of a change in the PSD's policies. The current leader of the Labour Party is Seán Ó Caoláin, who was elected on 1 May 2019.

History

The Labour Party was founded on 18 September 2001 in a merger of the Industrial Labour Party and the Socialist Party. The two parties had shared a similar role since the 1997 election as the Industrial Labour Party was founded in protest of the liberal economic policy of taoiseach Niamh Nic Uilliam. Prior to 1997, the Socialist Party was the only left-wing political party in the Comhthionól Náisiúnta. It was established in 1936 as the successor to the Caldish Section of the Worker's International. Despite previously cooperating with Social Democratic governments, the Socialists were strongly opposed to economic liberalism and privatization of government-owned industry. Working class voters impacted by economic reforms began to support both parties.

In order to solidify left-wing opposition to the Social Democratic Party, the parties agreed to discuss their relationship prior to the 2002 general election. A secret meeting between the leading staff of both parties was held on 10 August. The majority of members presentvoted in support of the merger. The parties established the Labour Electoral Alliance as an electoral party on 18 September 2001. Both parties were officially dissolved on 12 January 2002 and the Labour Party was established, six months prior to the 2002 election. This was done in order to avoid forced by-elections. Solidarity, the United Left, and the Workers' Socialist Party, were considered as alternative names for the party. Labour was chosen in order to attract working-class voters. In the 2002 election, the party won 27 seats. Before the election the two parties had 31 seats. Despite the drop in support, Labour became the third-largest party. Eion Mac Fíodhbhuidhe was unanimously elected party leader in January 2002.

Mac Fíodhbhuidhe was critical of the government's response to the World Financial Crisis and blamed economic liberalism for the global recession. Support for the party fell in the 2007 election after several popular former members of the Industrial Labour Party announced they would stand down. It lost votes to the Social Democrats who had begun to recover from their 2002 defeat. After their defeat, Mac Fíodhbhuidhe resigned and warned the party was heading towards a downward spiral. He said the party was in an unsustainable position now that the Social Democrats had won back support, but also cited the Free Market Party's growing popularity among working class voters as a threat Labour's existence.

Seán Ó Caoláin, the current party leader.

Nuala Nic Chonmara was elected party leader in July 2007. She was a member of the Socialist Party and had first entered politics when she joined its youth league. Nic Chonmara was a vocal skeptic of the Euclean Community for its role in the recession. She also adopted policies aimed at attracting young voters, such as the abolition of recently re-introduced university tuition fees and the creation of a monthly subsidy of €400 for students. The party gained a seat in the 2012 election. During the 2017 election, a weak campaign from the Social Democrats saw support for the party grow once again. It had its best ever performance, winning 28 seats.

In the 2019 snap election, the party had its worst performance on record and was reduced to eight seats. After, Seán Ó Caoláin was elected party leader in May 2019.

Ideology and positions

Like its predecessors, the party favors a strong public sector, government involvement in the economy, and the welfare state. It supports high taxation for the wealth in order to combat growing income inequality in Caldia. While the party is officially democratic socialist, there are factions that support council communism, eco-socialism, and republicanism

It has been highly critical of the Liberty Party and Social Democratic Party for policies that weakened the welfare state. While the party is officially opposed to economic liberalism, it supports freedom of speech, freedom of association, free elections, free press, and the rule of law. The party is divided on the status of the Caldish monarchy. In 2014, party leader Nic Chonmara wrote in Státaire that "while a republic is part of a fundamental socialist society, preventing right wing parties from further dismantling our welfare state is our top priority".

The party is opposed to Caldia's membership in the Euclean Community, a position it inherited from the Socialist Party. Labour is critical of the EC's liberal economic policies and its role in the 2005 Global Financial Crisis. It supports a referendum on Caldia's future with the EC and would campaign to leave.

While the party did initially have a large trade unionist faction, support from the unions has largely declined over time. One notable exception was during the 2017 election when two large unions endorsed the Labour Party over the Social Democratic Party. Many trade unionists have left the party. As of 2019, most of the party's base consists of socialists, communists, and students.

Election history

Election year First Pref votes % # of overall seats won +/- Government
2002 TBD TBD (#3)
27 / 399
Decrease 4 in opposition
2007 TBD TBD (#3)
17 / 399
Decrease 10 in opposition
2012 TBD TBD (#4)
18 / 399
Increase 1 in opposition
2017 TBD 12.6% (#3)
28 / 399
Increase 10 in opposition
2019 278,555 4.02% (#4)
8 / 399
Decrease 20 in opposition

Party leaders

  • Eion Mac Fíodhbhuidhe (2002 - 2007)
  • Nuala Nic Chonmara (2007 - 2019)
  • Seán Ó Caoláin (2019 - present)