Communist Party of Northern Ireland

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The Communist Party of Northern Ireland was a small communist party operating in Northern Ireland. Its origins lay in the 1941 split in the Communist Party of Ireland, which also produced the Irish Workers' Party in the Republic of Ireland. While the reasons for this split remain unclear, operational difficulties during World War II including Ireland's neutrality and the possibility of orders from Moscow remain the primary suspects - certainly, the split did not garner any reproach from the Comintern.[citation needed] It also enabled the CPNI to recruit extensively in the Protestant working class.

The Irish Workers' Party was able to undertake entrism into the Irish Labour Party, which was not organised in Northern Ireland at the time. Instead, the CPNI stood their own candidates in the 1945 Northern Ireland general election. While they did not come close to winning any seats, they polled a respectable 12,000 votes for their three candidates.

The CPNI was unable to use any momentum from their election result and declined in the following decades. Nonetheless it had a massive influence over left politics in Northern Ireland controlling the trade unions (as the British Labour Party was absent) and trying to politicise the IRA. Its highpoint was the civil rights association (NICRA) of the late 1960s which it effectively controlled, if only bureaucratically[citation needed]. It ultimately became the junior partner in a merger with the Irish Workers' Party, which was once again acting as an independent organisation, which in 1970 became the Communist Party of Ireland.

General Secretaries[edit]

1941: Sean Murray
1963: Hugh Moore