Last modified on September 16, 2016, at 22:13

Worker's Party of Ireland

The Worker's Party of Ireland is an Irish marxist political party which evolved from a split in Sinn Fein in 1970. The leadership faction became known as Official Sinn Fein and adopted marxist policies. This faction focused mainly on peaceful political activities in Ireland. In 1977, it changed it's name to Sinn Fein, the Worker's Party, and in 1982 it became simply the Worker's Party.

Members of the party infiltrated Trades Unions and the State broadcasting company RTE in order to increase the influence of the party. By 1989, the party had seven TDs in Dail Eireann. Eoghan Harris, Pat Rabbitte, Sean Garland, and Eamon Gilmore were prominent members of the party. The party had close links to the Soviet Communist Party and to the North Korean Communist Party. In 1992, following the collapse of European communist regimes, 6 of the party's TDs left to form the Democratic Left party, in 1999, this party merged with the Irish Labour Party.

Following the defection of many of its members to form the Democratic Left, the Worker's Party lost most of its political influence. The party continued to exist however, and in 2000, Sean Garland was elected President of the Party. It was alleged that he was also leader of the Official IRA which was covertly associated with the party since the 1970s. In October 2005,he was arrested in Belfast on foot of a U.S. extradition warrant. U.S. authorities alleged that Garland was involved in a massive counterfeiting operation with North Korea to produce forged 100 Dollar notes, so called "Superdollars". The objective was, allegedly, to make criminal profits and to undermine the currency of the U.S.. Garland was given bail and he then broke his bail conditions by fleeing to the Republic of Ireland. As of December 2007, he has not been extradited to the U.S.


Eoghan Harris and the Workers Party

BBC Panorama Programme