University of Limerick
Cormican_2011_Origins.pdf (2.34 MB)

The origins and development of the Irish Republican Socialist Party and Irish National Liberation Army 1972-77

Download (2.34 MB)
posted on 2023-09-26, 13:39 authored by Adrian Cormican

This thesis examines the emergence of both the Irish Republican Socialist Party and Irish National Liberation Army from the ranks of the Official republican movement in 1974. In the years immediately following the unsuccessful IRA Border Campaign of 1956 to 1962, republicanism realigned itself to the far left of Irish politics. The tensions resulting from this precipitated in a major ideological split, creating two rival organisations with different approaches to uniting Ireland. The Official republican movement propagated a utopian scenario in which Northern Ireland’s Catholic and Protestant working classes would merge politically to implement reforms culminating in a thirty-two county socialist republic. By contrast the politics of the Provisional republican movement favoured an armed campaign to force a complete British withdrawal from the island. Internal divisions within the former organisation caused another fissure to occur, resulting in the establishment of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. The leader of this new group, Séamus Costello, combined a hard left philosophy with physical force actions in pursuit of his organisation’s stated goal of ending imperialist rule in Ireland and founding a unified democratic socialist republic under working class governance. Over the next three years the organisation’s military wing, the Irish National Liberation Army, became involved in a series of bloody encounters with both the Officials and the security apparatus of the Northern state, inflicting numerous losses on each belligerent while sustaining several casualties within its own ranks. This thesis primarily focuses on the development of the Irish Republican Socialist Party/Irish National Liberation Army between 1972 and 1977, highlighting the complex circumstances that led to the creation of one of most violent participants in the Troubles.



  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Ruán O'Donnell

Department or School

  • History

Usage metrics

    University of Limerick Theses


    Ref. manager