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'An Alien Ideology'Cold War Perceptions of the Irish Republican Left$
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John Mulqueen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620641

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620641.001.0001

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Communists: Ireland’s ‘Fifth Column’?

Communists: Ireland’s ‘Fifth Column’?

Church and state work together, British communists provide direction to Irish parties

(p.17) 1 Communists: Ireland’s ‘Fifth Column’?
'An Alien Ideology'

John Mulqueen


This chapter discusses perceptions of Moscow’s ‘fifth column’ in the Irish state. While the communist party amounted to little more than an insignificant cult, not all communists declared themselves openly. Significantly, other political strands, particularly the IRA, were seen to be susceptible to communist manipulation. During the Cold War this gave rise to exaggerated fears about communism and its agents. Dublin officials co-operated with the British, and the Americans, in combating communists and their left-wing republican allies. In Northern Ireland, the Communist Party (CPNI) remained extremely weak, but retained influence of some significance within trade union officialdom. And, in Britain, the Connolly Association attempted to organise Irish exiles under the tutelage of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). The US embassy in Dublin was sensitive to any suggestion of communist activity; Irish and American officials placed intelligence co-operation on a formal footing in 1954.

Keywords:   ‘fifth column’, Connolly Association, CPGB, intelligence co-operation, CPNI, US embassy, Dublin

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