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Left Archive: United Irishman, Newspaper of Sinn Féin The Workers’ Party, June 1978 August 20, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, The Workers' Party, Workers' Party.

To download this document please click on the following link: UI RUC 1978

This edition of the SFWP United Irishman is the first addition to the Archive from that newspaper from the latter part of the 1970s. The United Irishman of this period was tilted somewhat more towards the North and this is reflected in parts of the contents.

The cover is striking in the context of broader material from the SFWP with the headline R.U.C. Hangmen. The article accompanying it references a young man who was found hanged in his cell and suggests that this was part of a broader range of suspicious deaths in custody during the period. The piece concludes that:

All these incidents are taking place at a time when the RUC have a lavish advertising campaign to improve the image of the Force. Also they are taking up a higher military profile throughout the north. Armed with Sterlin sub-machine guns, and Mark 1 carbines, the RUC recently have started to patrol areas of the border usually covered by the British Army.
The civilian policing service sought ten years ago by the civil rights marchers is still as far away as ever.

On the front page there’s another article that links to the Arms Trial, noting that the Irish Government had ‘dropped its attempts to recover money from German arms dealer Otto Schleuter’ which the German had been given for an arms cargo in 1969. It notes that ‘An anonymously published booklet called ‘Fianna Fáil and the IRA’ was issued in 1970 and claimed that Haughey and Blaney used funds [from the Exchequer] to undermine the Civil Rights struggle, buy traitors to split the Republican Movement and set up and arm the Provisionals.

A third article engages with nuclear power and the position of SFWP against ‘the building of a nuclear power station’ in Ireland. The reasons presented against such an installation are strongly linked to economic rather than environmental concerns – in particular the fact that ‘uranium is a very scarce commodity’ and ‘a nuclear power station is very costly to build’.

Other articles of particular interest include ‘Why Republicans Oppose Federalism’, part of a series of three articles on the topic on page 4. This was directly oriented towards countering the then Sinn Féin policy based on the Éire Nua document which staunchly advocated a federal Ireland.

Notably the introductory paragraph notes:

For almost 200 years the objective of the majority on this island has been to unite all of the people in a single unitary Republican State.
This Republic is now being opposed by the Provisionals, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the right wing of the SDLP.

Also of interest on page 5 is a critique of Dr. Noel Browne who had recently made what is characterised as a ‘sweeping attack on Irish Republicanism’. This was in the context of a meeting where Browne had delivered a ‘prepared script’. The UI also notes that:

The other SLP speaker at the same meeting, David Neligan, also was critical of Republicans, and in particular Sinn Féin, the Workers’ Party who, he said, ‘would have to prove their socialism’. This of course is true of everybody – including David Neligan.

The document also has a page devoted to international affairs, including Cuba’s Agricultural Revolution and the World Trade Union Conference in Prague.


1. Mark P - August 20, 2012

Thanks for this WbS.

It’s an interesting point in the development of SFWP, with the armed campaign long behind them but republican rhetoric still present. Other than that, it’s notable that the design and presentation is much, much better than we normally see from the groups in the archive.


2. Some interesting documents posted up in the Left Archive over Summer 2012 « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - September 24, 2012

[…] Then a most interesting copy of the United Irishman from SFWP from 1978 which uses a strikingly Republican rhetoric both visually and otherwise. […]


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