The Democratic Programme

Tom Johnson's original draft of the Democratic Programme - click to se larger version
Tom Johnson, speaking in 1922 during the major strike 'against militarism' and the civil war

Since our foundation the Labour Party has had a vision of a more egalitarian future for Ireland.

In 1919, the ‘Democratic Programme’ drafted by Tom Johnson, then leader of the Labour Party, was adopted by the First Dáil, alongside the Declaration of Independence, and the Dáil Constitution.

The Democratic Programme set out important principles such as Liberty, Equality and Justice for all to guide the work of the Irish Government. Unfortunately those principles have not yet been fully realised by all Irish citizens.

The Labour Party, in commemoration of Tom Johnson’s legacy, will draft a new democratic programme, building on our core principles, to contribute to shaping Ireland’s second century.

We are calling on all citizens who have ideas for how we can build a fairer, more equal future for all Irish people, and all residents in Ireland, to contribute to this process.

Submit your ideas via our website and the best of them will be published online.

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #aNewRepublic

Attend and contribute to one of our public meetings

Get in touch with your local Labour representative or our spokesperson on your area of interest.


Text in English

We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

We declare that we desire our country to be ruled in accordance with the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Justice for all, which alone can secure permanence of Government in the willing adhesion of the people.

We affirm the duty of every man and woman to give allegiance and service to the Commonwealth, and declare it is the duty of the Nation to assure that every citizen shall have opportunity to spend his or her strength and faculties in the service of the people. In return for willing service, we, in the name of the Republic, declare the right of every citizen to an adequate share of the produce of the Nation’s labour.

It shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training as Citizens of a Free and Gaelic Ireland.

The Irish Republic fully realises the necessity of abolishing the present odious, degrading and foreign Poor Law System, substituting therefor a sympathetic native scheme for the care of the Nation’s aged and infirm, who shall not be regarded as a burden, but rather entitled to the Nation’s gratitude and consideration. Likewise it shall be the duty of the Republic to take such measures as will safeguard the health of the people and ensure the physical as well as the moral well-being of the Nation.

It shall be our duty to promote the development of the Nation’s resources, to increase the productivity of its soil, to exploit its mineral deposits, peat bogs, and fisheries, its waterways and harbours, in the interests and for the benefit of the Irish people.

It shall be the duty of the Republic to adopt all measures necessary for the recreation and invigoration of our Industries, and to ensure their being developed on the most beneficial and progressive co-operative and industrial lines. With the adoption of an extensive Irish Consular Service, trade with foreign Nations shall be revived on terms of mutual advantage and goodwill, and while undertaking the organisation of the Nation’s trade, import and export, it shall be the duty of the Republic to prevent the shipment from Ireland of food and other necessaries until the wants of the Irish people are fully satisfied and the future provided for.

It shall also devolve upon the National Government to seek co-operation of the Governments of other countries in determining a standard of Social and Industrial Legislation with a view to a general and lasting improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour.


As Gaeilge

Dearbhuighimíd, i mbriathraibh for-fhógra Saorstáit Éireann go bhfuil sé de cheart ag muinntir na hÉireann sealbh na hÉireann do bheith aca agus cinneamhain an náisiúin do bheith fé n-a riar, agus nách féidir an ceart san do bhaint díobh; agus fébh mar dubhairt ár gceud Uachtarán Pádraig Mac Phiarais, dearbhuighimíd gur ceart go mbeadh, ní amháin fir agus mná na hÉireann, acht adhbhar maoine na hÉireann fé riaradh an náisiúin, idir talamh agus gustal na hÉireann, gach sadhas maoine agus gach gléas chun maoin do sholáthairt dá bhfuil san tír; agus athfhógraimíd an rud d'fhógair an Piarsach gur dual go mbéadh tosach ag ceart an phobuil chun leasa an phobuil ar cheart an duine chun seilbhe fé leith.

Dearbhuighmíd gur mian linn an ceart, an tsaoirse agus cothrom do chách a bheith mar bhuntacaí riaghlughadh na tíre, agus ná fuil d'urradhas le buanughadh Riaghaltais ná saorthoiliughadh na ndaoine chuige ach é.

Dearbhuighimíd go bhfuil sé de dhualgas ar gach fear agus gach mnaoi bheith umhal, díleas, freagarthach agus freastalach don Phobalacht; agus go bhfuil sé de dhualgas ar an náisiún feuchaint chuige go mbeidh caoi ag gach duine san tír ar a cheart agus a acfuinn féin do chur i bhfeidhm ar mhaithe le leas an phobuil. Mar chúiteamh ar fhreagra is freastal na ndaoine, dearbhuighimíd i n-ainm an tSaorstáit, gur dual do gach duine a cion féin de thoradh saothair an náisiúin a bheith aige.

Isé an príomhchúram a bheidh ar Riaghaltas an tSaorstáit ná gleusa soláthar chun leas corpordha, leas spioradálta agus leas inntleachta na leanbhaí do chur i n-áirithe dhóibh; feuchaint chuige ná béidh an t-ocras ná an fuacht ag goilleamhaint ar éin leanbh de cheal bídh, eudaigh ná dín tighe; acht go bhfaghaidh siad gach cóir agus gleus is gádh dhóibh chun teagaisc agus taithighe ceart do thabhairt dóibh i gcóir na hoibre a bheidh le deunamh aca mar chomhaltaí den tSaorstát Gaedhealach.

Is follus do Shaorstát Éireann nach foláir an dlighe gránna iasachta a bhainnean le Tighthe na mBocht i nÉirinn agus gach a ngabhann leis de chéimsíos is de náire, do chur ar ceal, agus plean éifeachtach éigin do cheapadh a bheidh oireamhnach don tír chun aire cheart do thabhairt do sheandaoinibh agus do lagaibh an náisiúin, daoine a thuilleann freastal agus buidheachas ón náisiún i n-ionad tarcuisne agus neamhshuime. Na theannta son, beidh sé de chúram ar an Saorstát gach gleus is áis dár ghádh a chur i bhfeidhm chun sláinte an phobuil agus leas corpordha an náisiúin, agus leas anama an náisiúin dá bhárr do chur i n-áirithe dhóibh.

Beidh sé de dhualgas orainn cabhrughadh le meudughadh gustail an náisiúin, an talamh a dheunamh níos torthamhla agus níos iontsaothruighthe; mianach na hÉireann, a portaigh mhóna, a cuid iascaigh, a bealaigh uisce, agus a cuanta do chur chun críche i ceart chun tairbhe muinntire na hÉireann.

Beidh sé de dhualgas ar an Saorstát gach níd is gádh do dheunamh chun ár ndéantúsa d'aithbheóchaint is do neartughadh agus feuchaint chuige go saothróchfar iad do réir "comhar oibre" ar an gcuma is feárr 's is oireamhnaighe 's is mó raghaidh i dtairbhe do chách. Cuirfar feadhmannaigh ó Éirinn go tíortha thar lear d'fhonn ceannuidheacht agus tráchtáil do chur chun cinn idir Éire agus na tíortha úd, a raghaidh i leas don tír seo agus dosna tíortha eile. Nuair a thabharfaidh an Saorstát fé thráchtáil an náisiúin, idir díoluidheacht agus ceannuidheacht, do riarad, beidh sé de dhualgas ar an Saorstát gan biadh ná earraí eile go bhfuil gádh leó do leigint thar lear ó Éirinn go mbiedeh a leórdhóthain fachta ag muinntir na hÉireann, agus a sáith i dtaisce aca i gcóir an ama le teacht.

Beidh sé de chúram ar Riaghaltas an Náisiúin, leis, a iarraidh ar Riaghaltaisí tíortha eile cabhrughadh agus comhoibriughadh ar chomh-chéim leó chun dlighthe i dtaobh gnáthshaoghail agus gnáth-oibre an phobuil do cheapadh a chuirfidh feabhas mór ar an gcórughadh saoghail is saothair a bhíonn le fághail ag lucht oibre.