Better Know A Micro-Party: Communists

Marxists this time.

Name: Communist Party of Ireland
Founded: 1933
Leader: Eugene McCartan*
Representation: None
Politically: Far Left
Associated With: Anti-Capitilism, Anti-State, Anti-Class, Anti-Wage Labour, Anti-Private Ownership, Anti-Europe, Pro-Common Ownership, Pro-Union, Pro-Environment, Pro-Working Class Rights
Notable Members: Michael O’ Riordan, founder.


Founded in 1933, the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) has maintained a constant, if somewhat small, presence on the island for over seventy years. In that time, it has suffered splits, arson attacks on its headquarters, and general harassment from parts of the public. The party provided plenty of members for the International Brigades of the Spasnish Civil War, among them the Party’s founder Michael O’Riordan.

Following splits, the party operated as “the Irish Workers League” and then “the Worker Party of Ireland” until 1970. Its strongest presence was in Dublin, with many members on the Dublin Housing Action Committee. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, membership declined, but the Party remains viable to this day.

Electoral Record

Poor. The Party, by and large, does not contest elections and it has lost any that it has. Michael O’ Riordan, the founder, contested six national elections (listed as an Independent in five of them) and garnered circa 6’500 votes between all of them.

What They’ve Done Recently

A lot of protesting about cuts, the bailout and the general economic situation. That kind of thing seems to be the limit of what the Communists can do, as they have no representation to do more. As it is, they have been vocal in recent times, but tend to be ignored, especially in favor of other, larger left-wing groups.

What They’ll Do In The Future?

With the lack of election prospects, more of the same. More protests, petitions, talks, etc. It has put forward alternatives to the current deals with the IMF/EU but, as you would expect, no one is really listening.

Chances In The Next Election

No indication that they will run any candidates and its fair to say that the voters of Ireland are not enamoured to the Party even if they did.

NFB’s View

They have that one major disadvantage in that they have the word “communist” in their name. That system of government has become so tarnished, so abused, and to be frank, has been shown to work only in the realm of the theoretical, that they have never had a chance in a right-wing country like Ireland. People hear the word “communist” and they think, Stalin, Castro, purges, Cold War and they balk. You won’t get votes that way and the CPI isn’t even trying.

At the current time, the CPI seems content to grow at a very slow rate, its number well with triple figures. As it is, they aren’t doing enough to garner a lot of attention. Barring an unlikely change in their modus operandi and the political outlook of the population, that isn’t going to change anytime soon. The CPI isn’t just on the outside looking in: they’re on the other side of the road, squinting in the darkness.

Most Likely To Say: We need revolution!

Least Likely To Say: Our ideology has never worked.

*McCartan is listed as “General Secretary” on the CPI’s Wikipedia page. The CPI website says nothing about its leadership structure so I can only assume he is in charge.

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