In 2011, on the cusp of its centenary year, the Labour Party recorded its greatest ever electoral success, with 37 TDs elected and a President. In doing so the party has succeeded, temporarily at least, in breaking free from the old two-and-a-half party system. But, why, for its first century, did Labour struggle to match its ambition? This series of essays to mark the party's centenary assesses the challenges facing Labour in a deeply conservative country, where echoes of civil war and Catholic Church hegemony have dominated the political landscape. Leading writers from the fields of journalism, history and social reform examine the failings, splits and contradictions of Ireland's oldest political party alongside the social and economic achievements to which the Labour Party lays claim.
Contributors: Ivana Bacik; Michael Laffan; Ronan O'Brien; Stephen Collins; David McCullagh; Eunan O'Halpin; Paul Daly; Ciara Meeha;n Niamh Puirseil; Diarmaid Ferriter; William Mulligan; Kevin Rafter; Eamon Gilmore; William Murphy ;Jane Suiter. All royalties to Barnardos.