Why Ireland can't WAIT for Labour to get in on July 4th...

Keir Starmer

Lawmakers and senior civil servants in Ireland welcome the prospect of Labour winning the UK general election

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Hannah Ross

By Hannah Ross


Published: 23/06/2024

- 07:26

Several senior figures in Starmer's party have deep roots in Ireland

As Labour remain on track to win a large majority in the upcoming UK general election, the Irish are secretly rooting for Starmer's success.

The Irish government do not take a public view on who they want to win the UK general election, however, sources from inside Dublin's government quarter have expressed their delight at the prospect of a Labour government.


Much of this eagerness is drawn from the knowledge that within Starmer's Labour Party are senior figures with roots in Ireland.

Senior officials called for "sane, sensible and respectful" partners across the Irish Sea, which they feel they have not had over the last 14 years of Conservative rule.

Keir Starmer

Senior officials in Ireland have called for "sane, sensible and respectful" partners across the Irish Sea

PA

“At times it’s felt like a nightmare, having this neighbour who gleefully rips up the rulebook over and over and never seems to get how destructive it all has been," one senior government official told POLITICO.

They continued: "We want to have sane, sensible, respectful partners across the Irish Sea again because that good relationship is so fundamentally important to us."

A lawmaker for Fianna Fáil, one of the three coalition parties in Ireland's government, added; "July 4 will be our independence day from stupidity. It’ll be gobshites out and adults in, finally. Finally!”

This sentiment, shared by the Irish government and opposition across the political spectrum, reflects the excitement about what a Labour government might mean for Ireland.

This is driven further by regret over the damage done to Anglo-Irish relations since Brexit.

Rishi Sunak

A lawmaker for Fianna Fáil said "July 4 will be our independence day from stupidity"

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Should Labour take power on July 4, British government policy could be guided by people with wide-ranging ties to Ireland.

Morgan McSweeney, the Labour campaign director, grew up in a village outside the County Cork town of Macroom.

Many of McSweeney's family members backed Fine Gael, a centrist political party in Ireland, with an aunt on the local council and a later cousin, Clare Mungovan as a government special adviser.

Today, McSweeney is an influential part of Labour tactics and strategy alongside two other senior operators who have strong ties to Ireland.

Sue Gray became Starmer's chief of staff last year after a career as a senior civil servant in Whitehall and at Stormont in Belfast.

Sue Gray

Sue Gray became Starmer's chief of staff last year after a career as a senior civil servant in Whitehall and at Stormont in Belfast

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Gray's mother came from County Waterford, a seaport in southeast Ireland, and her father came from the Northern Ireland border village of Belcoo.

A senior Sinn Féin lawmaker who worked with Gray at Stormont told POLITICO: "Sue Gray knows more about the north of Ireland from the inside out than any British prime minister’s chief of staff has ever had.

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"That can only be good for shaping policy on this place. She suffers no fools and there’s plenty enough of them in this place."

Gray's son, Liam Conlon, is also a Labour candidate for the new southeast London constituency of Beckenham and Penge.

Another party campaign coordinator and MP for Wolverhampton South East with close ties to the UK's neighbouring island is Pat McFadden.

McFadden grew up in an Irish-speaking household in Glasgow where Irish immigrants have emigrated from Donegal since the Famine.

The politician previously warned how Brexit could disrupt British and Irish interests in Northern Ireland.

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