Neither democratic nor a programme: The Democratic Programme of 1919

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On 21 January 1919, the first Dáil adopted four constitutional documents, the best known of which is the Democratic Programme, a statement of social values, based on proposals from the Labour Party. The Programme is usually regarded as a cynical reward to Labour for its abstention from the 1918 general election, and nationalist elites have frequently been criticised for reneging on it. This paper will argue that the Programme was written to advance the Irish cause at the International Socialist Conference at Berne in February 1919, that parts of the Programme were implemented, and that it is very likely that the Labour Party did not write it to be implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-109
Number of pages18
JournalIrish Historical Studies
Issue number157
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 May 2016


  • Ireland
  • Labour


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