Over the past number of years, it has become evident that a small group of members of the Workers’ Party, centred around the regional body the “Northern Ireland Business Committee,” hold political positions which are at odds with the majority of the Party’s membership, and the Party’s history and tradition. This faction has used increasingly undemocratic methods to impose its will, in an effort to shift the Party away from socialist republicanism and working class engagement, and towards sect-like isolationism, and pro-unionist politics. Emblematic of this was an attempt by this group to remove the Starry Plough as the Party’s official symbol some years ago.

The Workers’ Party’s Ard Comhairle has devoted countless hours in trying to resolve these internal Party differences and maintain Party unity.

Sadly, it is now clear that all our efforts have been in vain and that the Business Committee faction have already decided to split and have, secretly, formed a new organisation. This was made clear by a letter received by the Ard Comhairle on Friday June 12th, in which the Business Committee and its supporters refused to register their membership with the Workers’ Party’s Head Office. 

By refusing to register as Party members, the Business Committee and its supporters have now formalised their split and are no longer members of the Workers’ Party.

While the Workers’ Party welcomes debate and differences between its members, this can only function alongside respect for the democratic decisions of the Party’s membership. Instead of doing this, however, over the past eight months the Business Committee faction repeatedly ignored and undermined the Party’s rulebook, decisions taken by the party’s membership at its Ard Fheis, and the authority of the democratically elected party leadership, its Ard Comhairle. In doing so, this group has attempted to maintain a stranglehold over the Party in Northern Ireland in particular, and has rejected democracy and unity in the struggle to rebuild the Workers’ Party.

The Ard Comhairle has, over the last year, sought to protect and maintain the political traditions of our Party – in particular our commitment to internal Party democracy and unity, and our commitment to our ultimate goal of a unitary socialist republic on the island of Ireland.

That we had cause to do so is a direct result of the attempts by the Northern Ireland Business Committee faction to further its goal of partitioning the Party, reflecting its partitionist and pro-unionist mentality. 

It has not merely abandoned any commitment to the Party’s constitutional aim of a unitary socialist state but in fact openly disavows the Workers’ Party’s socialist republican tradition in favour of a pro-unionist politics. It has disregarded not only the political insights of Tone and Connolly, but also those of Lenin. It has led the Party through a long period of decline caused by an insistence that the Party pursue a strategy of sect-like isolation instead of engaging in mass working class politics. Internationally, this faction has tried to lead us away from our proud tradition of active solidarity actions into the cul de sac of pretentious statements and verbosity.

Internal disputes cannot be allowed to disrupt the Party’s vital work any longer. The Party must at this juncture move forward with the difficult and essential task of building a party for workers and the working class. The first step to doing this has already been taken by the Ard Comhairle, with the establishment of an interim Northern Regional Executive to guide the party in Northern Ireland until such time as a Regional AGM may be held. 

The Ard Comhairle of the Workers’ Party of Ireland remains committed to rebuilding a united and democratic party of the working class on a 32-county basis and to the secular, socialist, republican and internationalist tradition on which this Party is founded.  


For the purposes of clarity, it should be noted that: