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Labour leader Brendan Corish delivered his New Republic speech

On Saturday 14th of October 1967, in his address to the Labour party Annual Conference in Liberty Hall, party leader Brendan Corish outlined his “New Republic” vision for Ireland, opening with what became a slogan, “the seventies will be Socialist”.

The New Republic

The seventies will be Socialist. At the next general election Labour must for the third successive time, make a major breakthrough in seats and votes. It must demonstrate convincingly that it has the capacity to become the government of this country.

The Labour Party can only achieve its objectives by attaining the power of government. Our present position is a mere transition phase on the road to securing the support of the majority of our people. At the next general election (the most crucial in our history) it must face the electorate with a clear-cut alternative to the conservatism of the past and present; and emerge from the election as the Party which will shape the seventies.

What I offer now is the outline of a new society, a New Republic.

Then General Secretary of Labour, Brendan Halligan, recalled in 2018:

When he rose in Liberty Hall to address the 1967 Annual Conference of the Labour Party, Brendan Corish was about to deliver what was later described both as a manifesto and as a sermon.

But whether sermon or manifesto, it was about to shock the assembled delegates. It’s true they were anticipating something special. So,too the media. But what they got went beyond all expectations and has since been included in an anthology of the fifty “Greatest Irish Speeches”, and rightly so.

The address opened like a thunderclap with five words that reverberated around Liberty Hall and have since gone into political folklore: “The Seventies will be Socialist”.

Brendan Halligan, A Noble Adventure: The New Republic Speech in Retrospect