There’s none so hypocritical as those on the political Left, particularly the hard Left, so it’s been more than interesting to watch some of Ireland’s most well known communists and socialists, both the die-hards and the born-agains, lining up to defend former Workers Party leader Seán Garland, as he faces extradition to the United States. Just as interesting has been those who have kept well away from the court case, aware of their own shadowy past links to the bold Seán, the Workers Party, Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army. The hijacking of the leaderships of the latter two organisations by communists in the late 1960s and early ‘70s led to the split in the Irish Republican movement that gave birth to Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF / SF) and the Provisional IRA (PIRA / IRA). And the rest, as they say, is history.
As the Irish Independent reports:
‘Sean Garland, a 77-year-old man who suffers from cancer, angina and diabetes, was clearly anxious as his lawyers argued against his extradition to the US. His breathing was heavy at times.
Assistant US attorney Brenda Johnson’s affidavit before the High Court held that: “This case involved a long-standing and large-scale supernotes distribution network (the Garland organisation) based in the Republic of Ireland and headed by Sean Garland, a senior officer in the Irish Workers’ Party.”
The US Secret Service, an agency whose dual role is to protect the US president and to track down people who counterfeit dollars, “discovered the supernotes were sourced in the Democratic Republic of North Korea and transported around the world by North Korean officials travelling under diplomatic cover”.
The group responsible for the forgery operation — by far the biggest ever to have existed in Ireland — was the supposedly defunct Official IRA.
The Official IRA was supposed to have disbanded and buried its weapons in 1973 but it continued in existence under the semi-secret soubriquet ‘Group B’.
The point of the forgery operation in Dublin was not just to finance the political wing, the Workers’ Party, but to spread the doctrine of Marxism in Ireland and abroad, according to former members.
After the raid, Group B’s master forger fled the State — he is still wanted by gardai — and was believed to have travelled via Scandinavia to East Germany, then the German Democratic Republic (GDR) under the arch-Stalinist Erich Honecker, ruler of one of the most oppressive regimes in history.
With the collapse of the Eastern Bloc communist dictatorships Group B turned its attentions to North Korea, along with China one of the few remaining communist dictatorships left. North Korea, according to the US affidavit, used diplomatic bags to transport the counterfeits around the world, as part of a bizarre plot, it is said, to undermine the dollar.
Three weeks before Mr Garland was arrested while attending a Workers’ Party conference in Belfast in September 2005, the US announced it was freezing $25m in assets held by Banco Delta Asia in Macau.
Since the moves began here to extradite him an extraordinary line-up of members from all political parties in Ireland, trade unions, academics and former IRA associates dating from the Fifties have come together to support him and oppose the extradition.’
Of course a chunk of the Workers Party, in shiny new whiter-than-white clothing, ended up in turn hijacking the leadership of the Irish Labour Party. The present head of the Labour Party, and Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, is a former comrade of Seán Garland’s. Having risen through the ranks of Official Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin the Workers Party, the Workers Party, Democratic Left, the erstwhile political cuckoo finally made his home in the Labour Party nest, along with his fellow apparatchiki: and we all know what cuckoos do.
The infiltration of serving or former members of the Workers Party into important state institutions is one of the great open secrets of recent Irish history, the most outrageous being the take-over of RTÉ’s news and current affairs department by a cadre of Marxist-Leninist activists in the 1970s. This was to have a dramatic and deeply poisonous effect on news reporting in the country, and arguably prolonged the conflict in the North of Ireland by many years through the deliberate suppression of news events and self-censorship.
As the veteran RTÉ news journalist Olivia O’Leary recently acknowledged:
‘The reaction among many of my generation in the Republic was to turn their backs on all Irish nationalists, to claim that nationalist grievances were vastly overstated, and, if only the proletariat in the North would come together, all would be well. It was a revisionist, two-nation theory. It affected some of the newspapers but most powerfully RTÉ, where in the television-programmes area where I worked the anti-nationalist line was imposed with Stalinist rigour.
It led to some bizarre editorial decisions, like the refusal to accept that the hunger striker Bobby Sands was going to win the Fermanagh and South Tyrone byelection, so preparations were made only at the last minute to cover the event. By refusing to believe that decent, peaceful nationalist voters would support a hunger-striking IRA man we were failing to reflect the truth of Northern politics: that in a struggle between the British state and Republican prisoners, nationalists could feel no loyalty to a state governed without consensus.’
Not surprisingly, despite her standing, O’Leary’s honesty left her under concerted attack from many of those self-same former Stalinists who once twisted and corrupted the supposed neutrality of our national broadcaster and who still promulgate their lies and fantasies in sections of our news media. That the extreme of leftwing politics in Ireland, militant socialists and communists, became associated with a seditious campaign in opposition to all forms of Irish nationalism and republicanism is still shocking to some.
That the attempted covert orchestration of Irish public opinion and politics went so far as to be actively pro-British (up to and including co-operating with the British intelligent services and British Unionists terrorist organisations in murders and assassinations) shows just how far some leftwing ideologues could go in the pursuit of the twisted politics of Marx and Lenin. When treason is more palatable than patriotism then something is seriously wrong.
Perhaps those around Seán Garland, as well as the former comrades who now hide in plain sight in various political and media organisations, should look back at what they did in the 1970s and ‘80s and ponder the damage they wrought both to the Irish nation and the Irish people in their fetishist adherence to the anti-democratic beliefs of Lenin, Stalin and Mao. But then again, given the nature of most, I doubt the would-be commissars of the Fools Republic will ever see beyond their delusions.
As fringe journalist Eoghan Harris recently boasted of his Workers Party days:
‘…while I certainly called myself a communist, I never had any time for Stalin, and for one simple reason. Stalin was an anti-semite.’
If that is the worse criticism Harris could make of the mass murderer of millions of men, women and children, need I say much more of the Workers Party and all it represented, and perhaps still represents?
- Opposing the Extradition of Seán Garland (cedarlounge.wordpress.com)
- Dublin: Vetran Republican Allegedly ‘Led Forged Dollars Plot’ Court Hears (lostchildreninthewilderness.wordpress.com)
- Roibeárd ‘Bobaí’ Ó Seachnasaigh (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- Open Letter from Leading Trade Unionists Opposing the Extradition of Seán Garland (politics.ie)
- British Unionists Target Irish And Immigrant Families In Portadown (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- One Step At A Time – The Belfast Agreement And Beyond (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- The Phoenix Rising? (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- Lies, Damned Lies, And… Polls (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)