Published 8th February, 2011
Founded in 1912 by James Connolly and others as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress, Labour was the main opposition party until 1927. From 1954 onwards the Labour Party has had a tradition of working in coalition with Fine Gael during their periods in government. Throughout this period Labour has been the third largest party in the Irish parliament.
Espousing the principles of the Trade Union movement the Labour Party has always been left of centre. In 1999 they merged with the Democratic Left.
In 1990 the Labour leader Dick Spring invited Mary Robinson a former Labour Senator to stand as the Labour presidential candidate. Mary Robinson was elected and became the first woman President in Ireland.
The current leader of the Labour Party is Eamon Gilmore since his election in 2007.
The Labour Party is a member of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in the European Parliament and is also a member of the Socialist International.