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A History of the Northern Ireland Labour PartyDemocratic Socialism and Sectarianism$
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Aaron Edwards

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078743

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078743.001.0001

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The NILP in retreat, 1969–72

The NILP in retreat, 1969–72

(p.158) 5 The NILP in retreat, 1969–72
A History of the Northern Ireland Labour Party

Aaron Edwards

Manchester University Press

This chapter demonstrates the crisis of the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP). As increasing numbers of Protestant and Catholic workers became unionised they flocked to the burgeoning ranks of the NILP. The NILP had been propped up by two key pillars in Northern Irish society. As violence unfolded in 1969, the Labour movement found itself in an unenviable position. The return of Paddy Devlin as MP for Falls in the February 1969 Stormont election was a turning point for the NILP and pointed to a consolidation of its support in Catholic working-class areas. Despite their best efforts the party hierarchy could not contain the sectarian cancer from spreading throughout some of its local branches. The NILP failed to carry its broader cross-sectarian support-base with it after the election. George Chambers thought that British Labour had made life increasingly difficult for the NILP by their hostile attitude.

Keywords:   Northern Ireland Labour Party, Northern Irish society, Labour movement, George Chambers, British Labour, Paddy Devlin

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