Irish faction asked Moscow for 1m pounds

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The Independent Online
IN A DARING quest for Soviet funds, the Workers' Party of Ireland asked in 1986 for pounds 1m and some KGB-trained security agents, according to declassified Central Committee documents.

The KGB was in favour of helping the Workers' Party, but the Central Committee, then led by Mikhail Gorbachev, rebuffed the KGB chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, and turned down the request for fear that it would harm the warming relations with Britain and upset the new world order Mr Gorbachev was trying to build.

The documents provide one of the most detailed insights into the relationship between the former Soviet Union and a foreign political party.

The appeal came in the form of a letter from the president of the Workers' Party, Sean Garland, and its then vice-president, Proinsias De Rossa, now a member of the Dail for Dublin North- west and one of the biggest vote- getters in the Irish parliament.

Mr De Rossa said yesterday that he had 'no recollection' of the letter. Asked whether he had, as the letter suggested, been in Moscow at the time, he said he could not remember definitely, though he did go there at some time in the early 1980s.

The Workers' Party is the successor to the political wing of the Official IRA of the 1970s. The party split this year, mainly over adherence to Marxist ideology. Mr De Rossa leads the breakaway liberal faction which has become the Democratic Left Party.

Archive revelations, page 10