The workers' party and Europe: Trajectory of an idea

Richard Dunphy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The Irish left was initially hostile to the process of European integration, campaigning against European Community (EC) membership in the 1972 referendum. The Labour Party has long since abandoned this position. More recently, the Workers’ Party, which entered the European Parliament after the 1989 elections, has radically reassessed its European policy. The emergence of a pro-EC stance reflects the overwhelming consensus on the issue in Ireland and the fact that there is little political mileage for the left in opposing European union. More fundamentally, a revisionist stance on European integration and on the prospects of ‘socialism in one country’ takes us to the heart of debates within the Workers’ Party about that party's future. The recent split within the party - and the emergence of a new left-wing party, Democratic Left - mirrors events elsewhere on the European left. The Workers’ Party's re-alignment inside the European Parliament in December 1991, away from the hard-line Left Unity Group towards the post-communist Group for a Unitary European Left, reflects the ‘Europeanist’ orientation of the party majority who have now formed Democratic Left. A further re-alignment, possibly within the life of the current Parliament, is increasingly likely.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-39
    Number of pages19
    JournalIrish Political Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 1992

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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