Democratic Left was a small political party which was organised primarily in the Irish Republic but also in Northern Ireland for just short of seven years in the 1990s.
Formed out of a split in the Workers’ Party in early 1992, Democratic Left was formally disbanded in January 1999 following a merger agreement with the Labour Party. The party – which was led by Proinsais De Rossa, Pat Rabbitte, Eamon Gilmore and Liz McManus – participated in the 1994-97 Rainbow coalition involving Fine Gael and Labour.
This book explores the emergence of Democratic Left out of the crisis in communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as continued allegations about their involvement in Official IRA criminality. Issues of ideology and identity, party organisation and political funding are examined in this major study which offers a unique and revealing insight in how politics operates in Ireland today.
The book is based on access to internal Democratic Left documentation and papers, and interviews with all leading party members and other figures including Eoghan Harris, Sean Garland, John Bruton and Ruairi Quinn.
Table of Contents
SECTION 1 BIRTH
1. Positioning Democratic Left
2. Small Parties & Third Ways
3. The Republican Legacy
4. Division & Departure: A new party is born
SECTION 2 LIFE
5. A History through the Ballot Box
6. Government Talks: Unsuccessful & Unexpected
7. Policy Positions & Party Agenda
8. Anatomy of a Party I: Organisation, Leadership & Identity
9. Anatomy of a Party II: Finances
SECTION 3 DEATH
10. Merger I: A Return to Opposition
11. Merger II: Pat Rabbitte & Ruairi Quinn
12. Merger III: The End of a Party
About the Author
Kevin Rafter is the author of political histories of Fine Gael, Sinn Fein and Clann na Poblachta. He spent over a decade working as a political journalist in Dublin including with the Irish Times, the Sunday Times, the Sunday Tribune and RTE. He now works as a senior lecturer in the School of Communications at Dublin City University.