A workers' guide to Ireland

A guide to Irish history and politics, first published 1993. Click here to download as pdf

Ireland: abortion ban cracks

On Thursday 11 July, Irish parliamentarians passed a law finally allowing limited abortion rights in Ireland. The law, passed by 127 votes to 31, allows for abortion only in cases where a woman’s life is in danger or if she is suicidal. The new legislation, the first of its kind, does the bare minimum to comply with the 2010 European Court of Human Rights ruling which found that Ireland’s failure to regulate access to abortion was a violation of its human rights obligations. However, it does not reform or add any new grounds for legal abortion. The law does not apply to cases of rape and will...

1916: The Easter Rising

Ireland and the Revolutionary Tradition of Easter Week From Labor Action, 14 April 1941 Easter Sunday morning, 1916. Three o'clock. James Connolly. Irish revolutionary leader, was talking to his daughter and some of her friends, all asking why the revolt so carefully prepared had been countermanded. Connolly knew that the arms from Germany had been intercepted, he knew that the arrangements had broken down, but he knew that the British government was going to strike. He could not let the revolt be stamped out without resistance. It seemed to him, and rightly, that the resulting demoralisation...

Rendezvous in Northern Ireland?

In a hugely symbolic moment on 27 June, during a royal visit to Northern Ireland to mark her jubilee, the former commander of the IRA shook hands with the Queen. The man who commanded the force responsible for, amongst other things, the death of the Queen’s cousin Lord Mountbatten, exchanged a handshake with the woman whose armed forces murdered 14 innocent civil rights marchers in his hometown of Derry. This was, all proportions guarded, a real life instance of David Low’s famous cartoon “Rendezvous” in which Hitler (“the bloody assassin of the workers”) greets Stalin as “the scum of the...

An Irish Trotskyist Programme for Irish Unity (1948)

This leaflet was produced by the Irish Trotskyists of the Revolutionary Socialist Party in 1948. A section of the Cannon-Pablo-Mandel Fourth International, the RSP had adopted the politics of the Workers Party USA, the Shachtman organisation. The “coalition” referred to is the Dublin government formed after the the February 1948 election in the 26 Counties by Fine Gael, the Labour Party, Clann na Poblachta, Clann na Talmhan and the National Labour Party. It replaced De Valera's Fianna Fail, which had been in office since 1932. Fine Gael takes hostages Would Fine Gael, the party of the ranchers...

Editorials - February 1995

Editorial comments on Blair's "modernisation" project in the Labour Party and the peace process in Northern Ireland. Click here to download article as pdf. Article continues on page 5.

Provos, Protestants and Irish working-class politics - a dialogue

Download complete text as pdf here or read online: Introduction Session one: The issues stated Session two: A foothold for imperialism? Session three: Ireland, "permanent revolution", and imperialism Session four: Two Nations? Session five: A Provo socialist revolution? Session five, part 2 Appendix: a way to workers' unity?


Northern Ireland is in chronic communal conflict. For there to be a democratic solution, a wider framework than Northern Ireland is needed. The only programme which accommodates the rights of both communities without infringing on the rights of either is a federal united Ireland with regional autonomy for the mainly Protestant north-east, linked in a voluntary confederation with Britain. That is a programme on which class-conscious Irish workers, Protestant and Catholic, can be united. And only a united working class can win full democracy and the socialist "levelling-up" which makes it viable...

Marxism and Irish politics: Rayner Lysaght and Sean Matgamna debate and discussion

In November 2018, the longtime Irish-based Trotskyist Rayner Lysaght debated with Sean Matgamna, a founding member of Workers’ Liberty, on Marxist perspectives on Irish history and the Irish revolution. The following day they had an extended discussion on related topics. This has been recoreded and released as nine viddeos.

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