Why the 'Irps'?

The original date of publication and author of this historical IRSP document is unknown, but the ideas herein explain some of the similarities and differences between the "irps" and Sinn Fein.

Why the Irps? That question is asked, often by foreign tourists coming to Ireland and, with a superficial knowledge of this country, cannot understand why we are not all in Sinn Fein.

It is sometimes asked by militant member of the working class new to politics. Their ignorance is their excuse. The President of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, Member of Parliament, West Belfast from 1983, can hardly plead ignorance. He has been a republican activist for nearly 20 years. He has a fine honourable record as an anti-imperialist. He is the leader of the largest anti-imperialist party in Ireland. Therefore when he questions the reason for our existence he does so not from ignorance but from knowledge. He knows our policies well enough but it suits him to feign ignorance as part of a wider campaign of denigrating of the IRSP by some Provisionals. ** The repeated attacks by Martin McGuinness on the INLA, the refusal of Sinn Fein to share public platforms or campaigns with the IRSP, their refusal to attend an attempted unity conference on repression because it was organised by the IRSP are matters of no small concern to us. We abhor dis-unity in anti-imperialist ranks.

We think, however, the negative attitude of the Provisionals towards us is based on some belief that we are in competition with each other. In that they are totally mistaken.


Sinn Fein is a petty bourgeois nationalist organisation concerned with the political freedom of Ireland.

The IRSP is a republican marxist organisation dedicated to a political, economic, social and cultural revolution that will rid Ireland of all of Imperialism and Capitalism.


Sinn Fein (ourselves alone) rarely co-operate with others and do so only when they consider it politically advantageous (example during the hunger strike).

The IRSP's central policy has been the Broad Front, a pre-condition for revolution in Ireland.


Sinn Fein is an abstentionist party.

The IRSP would take parliamentary seats in certain limited circumstances.


Sinn Fein regard the "peoples" support as necessary for the success of their struggle.

The IRSP regard the working class as central to any struggle. The class struggle is the struggle.


The IRSP seeks international support from socialists, working class organisations and genuine anti-imperialists.

Sinn Fein also seek the above support and that of reactionary organisations such as Noraid.


The IRSP has never publicly attacked specific actions of the Irish Republican Army.

Leaders of Sinn Fein have joined the witch hunt against actions of the Irish National Liberation Army.


According to Gerry Adams: "There are no marxists in Sinn Fein."

The IRSP welcomes marxists in its ranks.


These are just some of the differences between Sinn Fein and the IRSP.

It is unfortunate that we have had to outline them in the way we have done. But if some republicans can not see why we exist then it is our duty to clearly spell out where we stand.

We regard ourselves as followers of James Connolly. He saw clearly the pivotal role of the working class. He saw clearly they were the "incorruptible" inheritors of the fight for Irish Freedom.

National and Social Freedom can not be separated.

We maintain his belief. We stand for National Liberation and Socialism. We are the only socialist party in Ireland that unequivocally supports the armed struggle against imperialism.

We make no apology for existing. Despite massive repression specifically directed at us, despite our own past mistakes, we exist, proud and defiant.

Our flag is the Starry Plough. Our Class is the Working Class. Our enemy is Foreign Imperialism and Native Capitalism. We are the IRP's. Here we are and here we will remain until Ireland becomes a socialist society in the image of Connolly, Mellows and Costello.

That's why there are IRP's.

**In Saoirse (Sinn Fein Irish magazine) Gerry Adams said: "Is it a representative party, have they policies?"