Labour Party (Ireland) - Structure

Structure

The Labour Party is a membership organisation consisting of Labour (Dáil) constituency councils, affiliated trade unions and socialist societies. Members who are elected to parliamentary positions (Dáil, Seanad, European Parliament) form the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). The party's decision-making bodies on a national level formally include the Executive Board (formerly known as the National Executive Committee), Labour Party Conference and Central Council. The Executive Board has responsibility for organisation and finance, with the Central Council being responsible for policy formation - although in practice the Parliamentary leadership has the final say on policy. The Labour Party Conference debates motions put forward by branches, constituency councils, party members sections and affiliates. Motions set principles of policy and organisation but are not generally detailed policy statements.

For many years Labour held to a policy of not allowing residents of Northern Ireland to apply for membership, instead supporting the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). The National Conference approved the establishment of a Northern Ireland Members Forum but it has not agreed to contest elections there.

As a party with a constitutional commitment to democratic socialism founded by trade unions to represent the interests of working class people, Labour's link with unions has always been a defining characteristic of the party. Over time this link has come under increasing strain, with most craft based unions based in the public sector and Irish Congress of Trades Unions having disaffiliated since the 1950s. The remaining affiliated unions are primarily private sector general unions. Currently affiliated unions still send delegates to the National Conference in proportion to the size of their membership. Recent constitutional changes mean that in future, affiliated unions will send delegations based on the number of party members in their organisation.

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Famous quotes containing the word structure:

    The question is still asked of women: “How do you propose to answer the need for child care?” That is an obvious attempt to structure conflict in the old terms. The questions are rather: “If we as a human community want children, how does the total society propose to provide for them?”
    Jean Baker Miller (20th century)

    Who says that fictions only and false hair
    Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
    Is all good structure in a winding stair?
    May no lines pass, except they do their duty
    Not to a true, but painted chair?
    George Herbert (1593–1633)

    With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and definite hardening of the paragraphs.
    James Thurber (1894–1961)