Chapter

Democratic socialism and sectarianism, 1924–45

Aaron Edwards

in A History of the Northern Ireland Labour Party

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780719078743
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702390 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719078743.003.0002
Democratic socialism and sectarianism, 1924–45

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Unionism remained deeply divided over issues of social service expenditure and the adoption of welfare legislation emanating from Westminster. It recognised the danger of the labour interests harboured by a significant portion of working-class Protestants and set about meeting these by establishing its own trade union organisation. Home Rule had a lasting legacy for the Irish Labour movement. The 1930s presented a range of unique challenges and opportunities for the Northern Ireland Labour movement and it soon became exercised by developments on the political front. The brittle rigidity of inter-ethnic co-operation had thrown into sharp relief the Northern Ireland Labour Party's (NILP) obvious difficulty in bridging the divide at the political level. The transition from war to peace threatened to upset the balance of power within the Unionist Party. The Labour movement was perhaps the power of the militant trade unionist wing of the Labour movement.

Keywords: unionism; Northern Ireland Labour Party; welfare legislation; trade union organisation; Northern Ireland Labour movement; Unionist Party; Westminster; Protestants; Home Rule

Chapter.  11023 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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