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Reds and the Green
Ireland, Russia and the Communist Internationals, 1919-43

Emmet O'Connor (author)
Publication date:
25th October 2004

Author Biography

Emmet O'Connor lectures in history and politics in the University of Ulster, Magee College. He has written widely on Irish labour history, and recently completed the biography James Larkin.


In August 1922, at the height of the Civil War, when the Communist Party of Ireland could count on barely 50 activists, two agents of the Communist International held a secret meeting in Dublin with two IRA leaders. The four signed an agreement providing for the transformation of Sinn Fein into a socialist party. In return, Moscow was to assist with the supply of weapons to the IRA. The incident illustrates what made the Comintern a beacon of hope to beleaguered revolutionaries or an object of sometimes hysterical suspicion. From February 1918, when over 10,000 thronged central Dublin to acclaim the Bolshevik revolution, to July 1941, when the Party in Eire was dissolved by the votes of just 20 members, communists were involved with every radical movement, and demonised in every pulpit. Based on former Soviet archives, Reds and the Green shows why Irish Marxists and republicans turned repeatedly to Russia for support and inspiration, what Moscow wanted from Ireland, and how the Comintern was able to direct an Irish political party.