Outline Policy on Full Employment
Organisation: Democratic Socialist Party
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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

28th October 2013

This is one of a series of short pamphlets issued by the Democratic Socialist Party in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Each pamphlet took a different policy area and expanded across four or five pages on the approach the DSP would take.

This one considers the issue of Full Employment, and it argues that:

Unemployment is the most serious social problem in this country. It has been a major problem throughout the life of the state. In such circumstances one would image in that the search for a solution to this problem would form the focus for the idealism, the imagination and the efforts of substantial progressive political movements. In post-War Europe, socialist parties gained greatly in support and authority by placing full employment in the forefront of their policies and their achievements in this area have been considerable. Irish politics, however, had different priorities. The first national aim remained the enforcement of the territorial claim on Northern Ireland, with the equally sterile secondary aim of reviving the Irish language absorbing much political attention.

And it continues:

The labour movement never succeeded in taking an independent stand i relation to the priorities of Irish politics. Indeed, the achievement of full employment was first placed in the centre of mainstream politics not by the Labour Party, but by Fianna Fáil in their 1977 election manifesto. In the event their commitment proved to be a superficials one, a token gesture to the need of modern Ireland, and when a crisis point came the party replaced its new national aim with the tried and trusted catch-cries of nationalism.

In the rest of the leaflet it considers areas such as ‘Planning for Employment’, ‘Industrial Job Creation’, the ‘National Enterprise Agency’, a ‘State Development Corporation’’, The Financing of Industrial Job Creation’ and ‘The State Enterprises’. It briefly examines Services (Housing), ‘Agri-Business’, ‘Fisheries’, ‘Forestry’ and concludes by arguing that:

A sustained period of full employment is unlikely in the near future. We believe, however, that even under the present political setup much can be achieved. The trade union movement is already one of the most powerful forces in Irish society and if it were prepared to use that strength in a way that other less representative interest groups have no hesitation in doing, it could win many worthwhile reforms.

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