National Progressive Democrats

The National Progressive Democrats was a small socialist political party in the Republic of Ireland, active between 1958 and 1963. The party was founded as a left-wing progressive secular party. Its founders were Noël Browne (former Minister for Health) and Jack McQuillan, former members of the social democratic wing of Clann na Poblachta.

National Progressive Democrats
FoundersNoël Browne,
Jack McQuillan
Merged intoLabour Party
Political positionLeft Wing

The party was noted for its vigorous role in Dáil Éireann. Between 1958 and 1961, 7 of the 9 motions discussed in Private Member’s Time had been proposed by one of them. In 1961 and 1962, they asked 1,400 parliamentary questions, 17% of the total. Taoiseach Seán Lemass paid them a compliment by referring to them as "the real opposition". Both were re-elected at the 1961 general election, but the party won little support as it fielded only one other candidate. The party was disbanded when it merged into the Labour Party in 1963. However both Browne and McQuillan would both subsequently lose their seats in the next election running under the Labour banner.

List of National Progressive Democrat candidates

Election Constituency Candidate 1st Pref. votes %
1958 Dublin South-Central by-election Dublin South-Central Noel Hartnett 2,688 15.3
1961 general election Carlow-Kilkenny Kathleen Brady 1,484 3.4
Dublin South-East Noël Browne 4,717 19.1
Roscommon Jack McQuillan 5,289 15.1

General election results

Election Seats won ± Position First Pref votes % Government Leader
2 / 144
2 4th 11,490 1.0% Opposition Noël Browne


  • Barberis, Peter, John McHugh and Mike Tyldesley, 2005. Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organisations. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8264-5814-9, ISBN 978-0-8264-5814-8
  • Manning, Maurice, 1972. Irish Political Parties: An Introduction. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7171-0536-6
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