The Labour Party was founded in May 1912 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, when delegates at the Irish Trade Union Congress voted to contest elections on the proposal of James Connolly. This was done to seek trade union representation in the new Irish ‘Home Rule’ parliament due to be created under the terms of the Third Home Rule (Government of Ireland) Bill debated by the United Kingdom House of Commons in 1912. The Labour Party first contested the general election of 1922 and served as the parliamentary opposition of the Irish Free State between 1922-1927. The Labour Party has participated in government on eight occasions: 1948-1951; 1954-1957; 1973-1977; June 1981-March 1982; December 1982-1987; 1993-1994; 1994-1997; and 2011-present. Six leaders of the Labour Party have served in the office of Tánaiste: William Norton; Brendan Corish; Michael O’Leary; Dick Sping; Eamon Gilmore; and Joan Burton. Two candidates nominated by the Labour Party have been elected to the office of President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, who served from 1990-1997, and Michael Daniel Higgins, elected in 2011.
Archival History ↴
The collection was housed in the Labour Party Headquarters at 17 Ely Place, Dublin 2. A deposit of archival materials had previously been made to the Irish Labour History Society in 2001.The collection was donated by the Labour Party to the National Library of Ireland in September 2012.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Labour Party (Ireland) ↴
The collection is principally composed of the records held in the various headquarters of the Labour Party from 1919-2014. It includes: minutes of meetings of various units of the organisation; published reports, conference documentation; manifestos and policy statements; files concerning local, presidential, European and general election campaigns; files concerning constitutional referendum campaigns; periodicals; photographic prints; election ephemera; financial accounts; donations; staff files; and correspondence.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Further deposits of materials are expected in 2022 and every eight years thereafter.
The collection is arranged as: I. Organisational Governance, 1969-2010; II. Electioneering, 1932-2012; III. Policy Positions, 1968-2011; IV. Membership Development, 1974-2012; V. Fraternal Relations, 1919-2011; VI. Finance, 1967-2010; VII. Personnel, 1983-2010; VIII. Democratic Left, 1992-2002; IX. Ephemera, 1969-2014.
Conditions of Access & Use
Access with a valid National Library of Ireland Readers Ticket.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
Copyright and reproduction rights owned by the National Library of Ireland.
A collection of Labour Party papers, dated 1967-2001, principally including: Dáil constituency organisation; files concerning members of the parliamentary Labour Party; and membership lists. These materials were deposited with the Irish Labour History Society (ILHS), Beggars Bush, Ballsbridge, Dublin, in 2001. Finding aid is a collection list prepared in 2003.
Descriptive Control Area
NLI guidelines based on ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000, and Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)