An ‘Irish Cuba’ – on Britain’s doorstep?
This book studies perceptions of the Soviet Union's influence over Irish revolutionaries during the Cold War. The Dublin authorities did not allow the Irish state’s non-aligned status to prevent them joining the West’s struggle against communism. Leading officials, such as Colonel Dan Bryan in G2, the Irish army intelligence directorate, argued that Ireland should assist the NATO powers. British and Irish officials believed communists in Ireland were directed by the British communist party, the CPGB.
If Moscow's express adherents were too isolated to pose a threat in either Irish jurisdiction, the republican movement was a different matter. The authorities, north and south, saw that a communist-influenced IRA had potential appeal. This Cold War nightmare arrived with the outbreak of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Whitehall feared Dublin could become a Russian espionage hub, with the Marxist-led Official IRA acting as a Soviet proxy. To what extent did the Official republican movement's Workers’ Party serve the Soviets’ Cold War agenda?
'A well-written work based on extensive use of state archives backed up by contemporary newspapers and periodicals. It successfully establishes that a broader international context is a useful way of adding to our understanding of how perceptions of a communist/subversive threat influenced both British and Irish policymakers.'
Henry Patterson, Emeritus Professor of Politics, Ulster University
'A fresh and original study of the Irish republican left, as seen from the strangely neglected, but as Mulqueen demonstrates, crucial, perspective of Cold War geo-politics. Clearly written and finely detailed, one of the more notable features of this book is the creative use of the British and American diplomatic archives. Altogether, An Alien Ideology makes a significant contribution to our understanding of later twentieth-century Ireland – a time which now seems at once so near and so far away.'
Jim Smyth, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Notre Dame
'An arresting account and a valuable contribution to the growing body of academic research into the [Northern Ireland] conflict.'
Tom Wall, Dublin Review of Books
'The main strength of this impressive study... lies in Mulqueen’s assiduous charting and sophisticated assessment of the spectrum of [the Official republican movement’s] links to major international actors, not least the Soviet Union.'
Ruan O'Donnell, History Ireland
'As a history of state intelligence on Ireland's far left, it's original, engaging, and recommended.'
Emmet O'Connor, Socialist History
'Mulqueen has written a much needed and very welcome book.'
Dianne Kirby, European History Quarterly
'An Alien Ideology deserves to join the essential reading lists on the Cold War’s impact on the island of Ireland... Mulqueen’s book reminds us to always consider the influence of international affairs on domestic politics.'
Thomas Leahy, Irish Political Studies
'The 1970s and 80s were challenging times for intellectuals, and the high-water mark of historical revisionism, censorship, and self-censorship. Many historians flattered themselves that they were in the front line of the struggle to defend civilization from the Provisionals and that liberal democracy was more important than academic integrity. By contrast, Mulqueen is impressively objective, and skillfully negotiates the controversies.'
Emmet O'Connor, Irish Literary Supplement
'[An Alien Ideology] is the first
attempt to quantify and analyse the extent and nature of UK/US surveillance of
the Irish left… I strongly recommend this book.'
Padraig Mannion, LookLeft
'Mulqueen draws upon an impressive range of
primary sources… I commend this book as a valuable and original addition to the
literature on Ireland and the Cold War, which will appeal to both scholars of
recent Irish history and of the Cold War internationally.'
Gerard Madden, Labour History
'This carefully researched and illuminating study broadens our knowledge of the Irish republican left… For specialists on the fraught relationship between Irish republicanism and socialism, Mulqueen’s book represents another valuable addition to their bookshelves.'
Stephen Hopkins, Labour History Review
'John Mulqueen's excellent study on the Cold War in Ireland... throw[s] new light on the history of Northern Ireland during the Troubles and why they need to be seen as part of something larger. By doing so, he has added significantly to the literature on the Cold War.'
Michael Cox, Cold War History
'An Alien Ideology… is refreshingly welcome and challenges the often-insular view of the Troubles period through consideration of the global context. Mulqueen’s use of the archival sources is superb and the Cold War contextual analysis braces the book and situates it well as a significant contribution to the developing historiography of this period of Irish history.'
Adrian Grant, Irish Historical Studies
'John Mulqueen's fair-minded and well-researched study... carefully examines the evolution of leftist republicanism during the Cold War, against the widespread perception that Marxism was indeed 'an alien ideology' for Ireland... [T]his intriguing book... rightly avoids dismissing or patronising the ultimately misguided and unsuccessful revolutionaries whom it valuably restores to their Cold War context.'
Richard English, Diplomatic History