In 1907 O’Carroll stood successfully as an Independent in the Mansion House Ward of Dublin Corporation, (now Dublin City Council). He was duly elected and subsequently re-elected as an Independent in 1910. However, in the elections of 1912, he stood on the Labour Party ticket and had his third successful election into office.
Prior to this (1906,) Richard had been an executive member of Sinn Féín. However, he and a number of other executive members namely: P.T. Daly, Patrick Sheehan and Con O’Lehane all resigned their positions after a falling out with Arthur Griffith over the issue of trade unionism.
The Genesis of the Irish Labour Party
In line with his goals of self-determination, an increasingly politicised O’Carroll shared the views of a number of leading trade unionists of the need for an Irish- based Labour Party. In 1911, he became one of the founding fathers of the Dublin Trade Council’s Labour Representation Committee which subsequently (Clonmel 1912,) became The Labour Party.
That same year, O’Carroll was appointed to the Labour Party Parliamentary Committee, along with James Larkin (Chairman), William O’Brien (Vice-Chair), Daly Campbell, Thomas McPartlin, Thomas McConnell, M.J. O’Lehane and Ms Galway.
A subgroup which included Connolly, Larkin, O’Carroll, O’Brien and Johnson campaigned to form the Irish Labour Party as the political wing of the ITUC and Connolly in respect of this tabled the Motion to the ICTU Conference to ensure;
“The independent representation of Labour upon all public boards be included among objectives of this congress”.
The Motion was carried by 49 to 18 (Clonmel Conference Town Hall, May 27th and 28th 1911).
O’Carroll, Leadership of the Labour Party
In the 1912 elections Larkin also took a seat on the Labour Party ticket alongside O’Carroll. However, as the newly elected councillors filed into the Chambers to assume their seats, Lord Mayor Sherlock objected to Larkin’s presence on the grounds of a criminal conviction. The conviction related to an incident during a strike at the Cork Docks in 1908. A criminal conviction debarred Larkin from holding public office for a period of 12 years and so with no other option he resigned. Before leaving the Chambers Larkin announced to the benches…
“Comrades I now leave you in the very capable hands of your new Leader, Councillor Richard O’Carroll.”
O’Carroll continued in this post until his untimely death in 1916.