It is with deep sadness and regret that the Workers Party of Ireland announces the death of our esteemed comrade, Sean Garland, a life-long revolutionary, a former General Secretary and Party President and a serving member of the Party’s Central Executive Committee. Although in recent times he had suffered serious problems with his health he remained a source of inspiration and assistance.

Sean Garland was an iconic and inspirational figure for the WPI and was one of the people who most influenced and shaped the Party over many decades. His passing marks the end of the life of a principled revolutionary, unceasingly dedicated to the cause of the working class and committed to the achievement of power for the working class and the construction of a socialist society as the only solution to the misery imposed by the capitalist system.

Sean’s contribution to rethinking and redefining the republicanism of the late 1950s and early 1960s was immense. It changed the course of progressive political thought, emphasised the internationalism of the class politics of the Workers Party and the common struggle of all workers wherever they lived and decisively rejected the narrow nationalism that others chose to pursue with catastrophic consequences.

Cde. Sean Garland was a committed internationalist. He supported the struggles for liberation in Vietnam, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Palestine and elsewhere throughout the world. He was a staunch supporter of the international peace movement, an unrelenting opponent of imperialist aggression and war, and he was opposed to the repeated assaults on Ireland’s neutrality, including his opposition to Irish membership of the so-called Partnership-for-Peace and any attempts to drag Ireland into NATO or a European Army. He recognised the seismic impact of the great October Socialist Revolution led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks and he defended the socialist construction in the Soviet Union and the Socialist countries as a huge step forward towards social progress where workers might enjoy the fruits of their labour free from exploitation and oppression.

Sean remained determined and confident in the future of socialism, in the necessity to build a vanguard party with firm and indestructible roots among the working class and continually in touch with their needs. He understood that capitalism is inherently and irredeemably flawed and must be abolished and replaced. He dedicated his life to that end. In the course of his life he suffered attacks at the hands of the bourgeois state, including the attempts to extradite him to the U.S., and assaults by rightist paramilitaries and ultra-leftist adventurists but he always stood firm, courageous and unbowed, convinced in the correctness of his political beliefs and philosophy.

Comrade Sean Garland enthusiastically endorsed the Workers Party of Ireland as a party of class struggle and the party of the working class. For him, the direction was clear, he devoted his life to the struggle to build a socialist future, to the construction and consolidation of a Marxist-Leninist party, a vanguard party, committed to the revolutionary transformation of society, the abolition of capitalism and the building of a secular, socialist republic in which power is firmly in the hands of the working class.

We have lost a fearless revolutionary fighter, we are eternally in his debt. His legacy and his inspiration will endure.

Gerry Grainger

International Secretary

Workers Party of Ireland