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Irish History Lecture Series; Ireland in 1918. Lecture 3 “Labour Must Wait”...

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Irish Cultural Centre

5 Black's Road

London

W6 9DT

United Kingdom

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IRELAND IN 1918
1918 was a pivotal year in Irish history. Growing disillusionment with the increasing cost of the war in terms of Irish lives lost plus the refusal to grant Home Rule severely undermined the Irish Parliamentary Party whose leader John Redmond (who died in 1918) had resolutely supported both. British proposals to extend Conscription to Ireland led to a mass campaign led by Sinn Fein, the political heirs of the 1916 Easter Rising and the Catholic Church in which the IPP were mere bystanders. The granting of the vote to all Irish males and many Irish women in 1918 substantially contributed to Sinn Féin’s election victory at the end of the year and Home Rule was permanently overtaken by militant republicanism. Meanwhile the substantial Labour movement was marginalised by the rise of Sinn Fein and in the north was being split along sectarian lines.

“Labour Must Wait”: The Marginalisation of Irish Labour DR IVAN GIBBONS
Before the First World War Ireland had a strong Labour tradition. The ITGWU was pivotal in the 1913 Dublin Lockout and the Irish Labour Party had been founded in 1912 to represent workers in the proposed Home Rule parliament. However, in the 1918 general election Labour stood to one side as de Valera argued that “labour must wait” pending “the resolution of the national question”. This meant that no Labour voice was heard in the crucial years between 1918 and 1922. The Irish Labour Party then re-emerged as an adjunct of the two main nationalist parties in independent Ireland - a role it has been consigned to ever since.

Dr Ivan Gibbons studied at Queens University Belfast and Birkbeck College, University of London where he gained his doctorate. He is former Programme Director of Irish Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, is a Director of the Irish Cultural Centre and is the organiser of the Centre’s annual lecture series. He lectures and writes on British and Irish history and is author of “The British Labour Party and the Establishment of the Irish Free State 1918-1924”.

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Irish Cultural Centre

5 Black's Road

London

W6 9DT

United Kingdom

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