Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 053
Irish Labour Party, 053
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a
data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)
Party name and code number
Irish Labour Party, ILP, 053
Information base and researchers
Information on the Irish Labour Party was coded from 79 documents and 811 pages of literature, all in English, on party politics in Ireland. 109 pages, or 13 per cent, deal with the Labour Party. Jeffrey Millstone indexed the literature. Qonnie Laughlin coded the first two variable clusters, Alan Kaplan coded the fifth, sixth, and seventh clusters, and Mary Welfing coded the eighth through eleventh clusters.

Institutionalization Variables, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1912, AC8
0, AC6
Two sources indicate that the Irish Labour Party was formed in 1912 by the Trade Union Congress. There have been no name changes.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
5, AC6
There are several references regarding splits and mergers, although none indicate their size. The split of 1944 and the merger of 1950 are assumed to be minor, primarily because there is little attention given to them and because the split and merger involve the same group, the national Labour Party.
1.04 leadership competition
11, AC4
There is one leadership change after 1950, when William Norton became leader of the party. Brendan Corish succeeded Norton upon his resignation. There is no information on the process of change, and it is assumed that it was an overt process involving less than 100 members.
1.05 / 2.05 legislative instability and strength
Instability is .15, AC8
Strength is .11 for first half, AC8 and .09 for second half, AC7
Labour was a distant third, fluctuating around 10 per cent of the seats, throughout our time period.
1.06 / 2.06 electoral instability and strength
Instability is .09, AC9
Strength is .11 for first half, AC9, and .10 for second half, AC9
In elections in 1951, 54, 57, and 61, labour received between 9 to 12 per cent of the vote.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
0 for the first half, AC3
-1 for the second half, AC6
There is no information for the first half. One reference states that in the second half, the Fianna Fail used the electoral system to favor itself and discriminate against other parties.
2.02 governmental leadership
0 out of 7 for first half, AC9
0 out of 6 for second half, AC9
The Labour Party has never held the position of government leader.
2.03 cabinet participation
5 out of 7 for first half, AC9
1 out of 6 for second half, AC9
The Labour Party held cabinet positions when it was in coalition with the Fine Gael and when the Fine Gael held the position of government leader during our period-- that is, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1956, and portions of 1951 and 1957. It never held cabinet positions when the Fianna Fail was in power the other years.
2.04 national participation
5, AC7
References indicate that the Labour Party was national, that is, it participated in national elections across the country, but its success was highly variable. Its main strength had been in the rural areas of the southeast and southwest. Although it has failed to attract the bulk of urban trade unionists, our consultant states that since the mid-1930s it has begun to capture increasing portions of its "natural" constituency--the urban workers-- to the detriment of its rural support.
2.07 outside origin
8, AC9
The Labour Party was formed by a major legal social organization, the Irish Trade Union Congress.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
3, AC9
The ILP favors the concept of government ownership. The party constitution states that "essential industries and services shall be brought under public ownership" to promote "the common good." it does not advocate ownership of all industry, only those considered essential or in economic difficulty.
5.02 government role in economic planning
3, AC9
The ILP favors an active role for governmental economic planning. It advocates subsidization without taxation, government action to check economic accession, and the pay pause, an act which would put into effect a system similar to wage and price controls.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
3, AC8
The ILP is in favor of redistributing wealth. It advocates lower taxes for workers, a capital gains tax on industry, and resettlement of church and large landowners" land for poorer farmers.
5.04 social welfare
5, AC9
The ILP favors universally available social welfare programs including free treatment for all those with incomes under 600 pounds, social security, and a new health scheme for equal opportunities of all people to receive medical aid. The party constitution advocates that the ILP will provide many services.
5.05 secularization of society
3, AC7
The ILP takes a generally benevolent attitude towards the christian church. It accepts catholic social teachings, and the party advocates the development of the country's resources with a christian social purpose.
5.06 support of the military
1, AC6
The ILP does not favor a build up in military armaments or any military alliances with other countries. Rather, it furthers peace "by an international war on hunger, disease, and destitution."
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
3, AC8
The ILP favors accepting aid from the western bloc only. It favored the association of Ireland with the eec and stands for a strengthening of the UN.
5.08 anti-colonialism
3, AC7
The ILP advocated complete independence from Great Britain and the end of the partition, but the party realized that there was no short-term solution. It did not advocate disruption of relations with Great Britain, and Norton, the party leader, voted to prevent further raids into ulster.
5.09 supranational integration
3, AC8
The ILP favors political and economic federation with other countries. The party constitution states that one of the purposes of the party is "to increase Ireland's activity and influence in international affairs." the ILP objects to any form of military alliance. It favors joining the eec and strengthening the U.N. Organization.
5.10 national integration
3, AC7
The ILP is nationalistic. On the issue of the partition of Ireland, the party constitution states that the party should "foster friendly cooperation between the two parts of the country," and that Ireland's national territory is the whole island. The ILP has a connection with the Labour Party in northern Ireland.
5.11 electoral participation
No information
5.12 protection of civil rights
5, AC6
In its constitution, at least, the ILP advocates the outlawing of discrimination and promotes civil and religious liberties.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
3, AC6
The ILP recognizes freedom of speech, and the party constitution guarantees "civil and religious liberty and equal opportunities to all citizens ." presumably, moral considerations imposed limits on freedom for non-political material.
5.14 / 5.15 US-Soviet experts left-right ratings
US says 3, non-communist left
Soviets say 3, an independent social reform organization sponsored by some workers and intelligentsia

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
4, AC8
The ILP relies exclusively on open competition in the electoral process.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC8
The is no evidence that the ILP has made any attempt to restrict open competition in the political process.
6.20 subverting the political system
0, AC8
There is no evidence that the ILP has made any attempt to subvert the political process.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31--2, AC6. The party frequently employs newspapers and periodicals as the voice of the party.
6.32--ac1. No information
6.33--2, AC8. The ILP frequently issues resolutions about party policy.
6.34--2, AC8. The administrative council of the ILP is responsible for publishing position papers. It does this frequently, especially around election time.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
6.51, 6.52, 6.54, 6.55--ac1. No information
6.53--1, AC3. The teachta dala (member of parliament) is a contact man, and labour "clinics" in urban areas are well developed.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
1 (sector 01), AC9
Two-thirds of the party's financial support comes from the labor sector, especially the trade unions.
7.02 source of members
3 (sector 01), AC9
Membership in the party is both direct and indirect, with more than 66 per cent of the members coming from trade union affiliations.
7.03 sources of leaders
1 (sector 01), AC5
Two-thirds or more of the leadership comes from labor and trade union backing.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
4 for first half, AC9
7 for second half, AC7
The ILP entered into governing coalitions with the Fine Gael twice during the first half of our time period. It eschewed the alliance during the second half.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
5, AC6
The Irish Labour Party did not become affiliated with the socialist international until 1969.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
7, AC8
The Labour Party has three national organs--the national conference, the administrative council, and the parliamentary group. The constitution outlines the functions and selection procedures for the first two organs, but the status of the parliamentary group is less clear.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
4, AC6
On paper the basic organ of the Labour Party is the branch, although in most areas organization does not extend beyond the constituency level.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
3, AC4
The Labour Party is a national party, but it appears that its basic unit, the branch, is limited to the south and west. One source indicates that outside of the south, local organization is either inanimate or non-existent.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
4, AC6
The party constitution states that the branches must hold an annual meeting and four business meetings per year.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
No information
8.06 maintaining records
6, AC3
There is no evidence of archives. There is no evidence of membership lists, but it is inferred that some lists exist, since new members must pay a fee and sign a declaration accepting the party program. The party publishes several periodicals and pamphlets, and engages in considerable propaganda activity, especially at election time.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
7, AC6
Trade unions are corporate members of the Labour Party, and the party serves as the mouthpiece of the unions. However, the party has created none of the unions, and it has little or no control over them.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
6, AC6
National party organs act directly on local organs, the branches and constituencies. The constitution provides that regional organs exist only where two constituencies choose to combine for administrative reasons.
9.02 selecting the national leader
No information
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
5, AC8
Parliamentary candidates are chosen by constituency conventions, while the administrative council prescribes selection procedures and approves local choices.
9.04 allocating funds
Insufficient information
9.05 formulating policy
6, AC7
The party constitution states that policy is derived from the national conference and the administrative council, and another source suggests that the parliamentary group plays a major role in determining policy.
9.06 controlling communications
5, AC3
There is no information on the control of party media, but it is inferred that national organs control the Labour Party's periodicals. The party's publications appear to be small and not influential.
9.07 administering discipline
No information
9.08 leadership concentration
No information

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
 10.01 legislative cohesion
.95, AC3
There is no specific information on voting in the Irish parliament, oreichtas, but is inferred from statements on the strict discipline of Irish parliamentary parties that the Labour Party is highly cohesive.
10.02 ideological factionalism
0, AC7
There was an apparent rift in the Labour Party before 1950 between the congress of Irish unions and the british based unions. However, this rift healed in the early 1950's and does not seem to have created any ideological factions within our time period.
10.03 issue factionalism
0, AC7
There was an apparent rift in the Labour Party before 1950 between the congress of Irish unions and the british based unions. However, this rift healed in the early 1950's and does not seem to have created any issue factions within our time period.
10.04 leadership factionalism
0, AC7
There is no evidence of leadership factionalism in the Labour Party.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, AC5
There was an apparent rift in the Labour Party before 1950 between the congress of Irish unions and the british based unions. However, this rift healed in the early 1950's and does not seem to have created any strategic or tactical factions within our time period. There is a possibility that the question of whether or not to join in coalition governments might have created factions, but none are documented.
10.06 party purges
0, AC7
There is no evidence of purges in our time period.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3, AC6
To be a member of the Labour Party, one must sign an acceptance of the party's principles and pay dues.
11.02 membership participation
No information
11.03 material incentives
0, AC3
Because the Labour Party had little access to government favors, it is unlikely that material incentives were available to motivate many militants.
11.04 purposive incentives
1, AC3
The Labour Party of Ireland is not a socialist or an ideologically oriented party. Probably little more than a third of the militants are motivated by the purposes and goals of the Labour Party.
11.05 doctrinism
0, AC5
Although the party constitution outlines the principles of the Labour Party, there does not appear to be a body of literature that could be called Labour Party doctrine. Our consultant, however, suggests that the writings of james connolly might qualify.
11.06 personalism
0, AC7
There is no evidence that any party militants are motivated by personalism.