By Kevin Rafter
Democratic Left was a small political party which was organized primarily in the Irish Republic, but also in Northern Ireland, for just short of seven years in the 1990s. Formed out of a split in the Workers' Party in early 1992, Democratic Left was formally disbanded in January 1999, following a merger agreement with the Labour Party. The party - which was led by Proinsais De Rossa, Pat Rabbitte, Eamon Gilmore, and Liz McManus - participated in the 1994-1997 Rainbow coalition involving Fine Gael and Labour. This book explores the emergence of Democratic Left out of the crisis in communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall, as well as continued allegations about their involvement in official IRA criminality. Issues of ideology and identity, party organization, and political funding are examined, which offer a unique and revealing insight in how politics operates in Ireland today. The book is based on access to internal Democratic Left documentation and papers, as well as interviews with leading party members and other high-profile individuals and political players, including Eoghan Harris, Sean Garland, John Bruton, and Ruairi Quinn. With a strong narrative, this is a must for those interested in contemporary Irish politics. It is written by Kevin Rafter, an experienced and accomplished journalist and political historian with a high media profile, having worked for RTE (Raidio Teilifis Eireann/Radio [and] Television of Ireland), The Sunday Tribune, The Sunday Times, and The Irish Times.
Publication Date: 2/2/2011