Well that didn’t take long. Saoradh, the Irish republican party formed last September, has experienced its first serious split with the resignation of twenty-three members from its Belfast branch. According to the activists they were responding to the expulsion of Harry Fitzsimons, the former chairperson in the city, who was forced from the grouping following a series of internal arguments between the local membership and the national leadership. The unionist-leaning Belfast Telegraph claims that these disagreements came about because of concerns over “financial irregularities” and other matters. However this has been dismissed by several people close to the controversy. Whatever the case, here is the Saoardh statement on the matter:
Saoradh express disappointment at recent resignations from the Party following the dismissal of Harry Fitzsimons, the former Belfast Chairperson. Mr Fitzsimons has been afforded due process in accordance with the Party Constitution, including the right to appeal the decision to dismiss which was authorised by the Party’s National Executive. Mr Fitzsimons did not notify the Party of his intention to appeal.
Saoradh investigates all matters, including that of its members’ conduct, which comes to the attention of the Party, impartially and with respect to the member’s rights in accordance with the Party’s constitution.
To conclude, Saoradh will not be distracted from the revolutionary path it has embarked upon; be it by the deliberate opportunism of sections of the media or by the naive or deliberate actions of individuals.
The usually well-sourced blog, El Norte de Irlanda, has published the joint-resignation letter from the former Belfast activists, albeit in Spanish (if you are using Chrome as your internet browser, Google should offer to auto-translate the webpage for you). While Saoradh has seen some modest growth, its members and their families have suffered continuous – and very public – harassment by the British authorities in the UK-administered north-east. This has no doubt curtailed its potential to develop as a political party.