The Wolfe Tone Society and the Communists

Matt Treacy

in The IRA 1956-69

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084720
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700068 | DOI:
The Wolfe Tone Society and the Communists

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Cathal Goulding and those close to him after 1962 quickly came to the conclusion that Sinn Féin by itself was not an adequate vehicle for their political ambitions. Instead, they decided to establish an organisation that they hoped would draw in a wider group of individuals who were sympathetic to republicanism but antipathetic to Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army. The main vehicle for the new departure was the Wolfe Tone Society, which was established to organise events around the bicentenary of the birth of the founder of the United Irishmen. The objectives of the Society were the establishment of a ‘united, independent, democratic Irish Republic’ and to educate the public on the nature of the subjection of the country to ‘British imperialism’. What the Communists clearly shared with republicans of both the traditionalist and modernising strains was an overly optimistic belief in any desire on the part of Irish people to resist economic modernisation in favour of the alternative of economic and political isolation allied with material self-sacrifice.

Keywords: Cathal Goulding; Wolfe Tone Society; Sinn Féin; Irish Republican Army; United Irishmen; Irish Republic; imperialism; republicanism; Communists; economic modernisation

Chapter.  11929 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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