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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’, the IRA and the Northern Ireland Crisis

‘Communists’, the IRA and the Northern Ireland Crisis

Republican movement moves leftwards, housing and civil rights campaigns launched

(p.47) 2 ‘Communists’, the IRA and the Northern Ireland Crisis
'An Alien Ideology'

John Mulqueen


At the beginning of the 1960s, the Soviet Union decided to support national liberation movements to undermine the US and its allies worldwide. Concurrently, the IRA leadership began to emphasise socialism and co-operate with communists in various agitations – the most significant would be the Northern Ireland civil rights movement. This chapter discusses perceptions of the republican movement’s ‘new departure’. William Craig, the Northern Ireland minister of home affairs, contended that the communist-influenced IRA aimed to manipulate the civil rights issue as a prelude to another armed campaign. In 1969 Northern Ireland’s prime minister, Major James Chichester-Clark, warned that some civil rights protesters aimed to create an ‘Irish Cuba’. The civil rights campaign inadvertently worsened sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, leading to the outbreak of the Troubles.

Keywords:   Soviet Union, Northern Ireland, civil rights, national liberation movements, communists, ‘Irish Cuba’, sectarianism

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