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Labour Blog

Have your say on #aNewRepublic

Posted on May 24, 2018 at 12:12 PM

The Labour Party’s current project ‘A New Republic’ invites people across Ireland to take a step back and look at the big picture of where we as a society want to be in 100 years’ time, and what changes we need to make to get there.

Next January, 2019, will mark 100 years since the First Dáil, and with it the 100 th anniversary of the ‘Democratic Programme’. This was an ambitious document drafted by Tom Johnson who was the Labour Party leader at the time and ratified by the First Dáil on 21 st January 1919 along with the Declaration of Independence and the Dáil Constitution. It laid out some basic principles by which the new Ireland should be governed, including ‘Liberty, Equality, and Justice for all’, ‘the right of every citizen to an adequate share of the produce of the Nation’s labour’ and ‘a general and lasting improvement in the conditions under which the working classes live and labour’.

As part of the commemoration we are holding round table discussions with representatives from across the spectrum of Irish society. The first of these meetings took place recently in Dublin and was attended by a mix of people from the arts sector and non-profit organisations working on issues as varied as housing, cancer, international development and climate change. Further meetings are planned for Galway, Cork and Limerick. 

In advance of the round table conversation we had a look at the original 1919 document and drew out ten major themes from it to lead our conversation. These are:

  • The land of ireland: property rights, public realm, natural resources
  • Control over our destiny, our future
  • Liberty, equality and justice
  • Allegiance of citizens to the state
  • Adequate share for all
  • Children and education
  • Older people
  • Health and well-being
  • Industry and foreign trade
  • International co-operation on workers’ rights and conditions


You can read the full text of the original here: .


We asked participants what issues were still relevant today, and what other issues would now be on the table which had not been contemplated 100 years ago. We also asked were there any key concepts which could draw together all the themes and serve as guiding principles for an updated Democratic Programme for the next century. The conversation covered a lot of ground touching on the importance of joined-up thinking across government and public services, how we can best balance rights and responsibilities and individual and community interests, ways that all citizens and residents can be more involved in democracy and decision making, in their communities, in the world of work, and the arts and creative sphere, and even Ireland’s place in the wider world.

Imaging a new democratic repiublic

Between now and January 2019 we plan on reimagining and redrafting the Democratic Programme with the help of Labour Party members and supporters and the wider public. As well as this series of round table discussions we will be holding constituency meetings with members, and our party sections including Labour Women and Labour Disability will be running events in line with their areas of interest. There will be public meetings where individuals can come along and have their say and members of the public and organisations are also invited to make online submissions to the project at , or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #aNewRepublic.

You can read more about the project at .

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