Ailtirí na hAiséirghe

Ailtirí na hAiséirghe
Founder Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin
Founded March 1942
Dissolved 1958
Ideology Fascism
Irish nationalism
Religious nationalism
Political position Far-right
Religion Roman Catholicism
Colours Dark Green

Ailtirí na hAiséirghe (Irish pronunciation: [ˈalʲtʲi̞ɾʲiː n̪ˠə ˈhaʃeːɾʲiː], meaning "Architects of the Resurrection") was a minor radical nationalist and fascist political party in Ireland, founded by Gearóid Ó Cuinneagáin in March 1942.[1] The party sought to form a totalitarian Irish Christian corporatist state[2] and its sympathies were with the Axis powers in World War II. It was one of a wave of minor far right parties in 1940s Ireland, like the Monetary Reform Party, that failed to achieve mainstream success.[3]


The group was founded out of a branch of the Gaelic League established by Ó Cuinneagáin in 1940. He had left a job in the civil service, and moved to Donegal in order to become fluent in Irish; he established Craobh na h-Aiséirí (Branch of the Resurrection) as a militant and active wing of the League that grew rapidly, holding public events as well as organising Irish language classes. At the time many ideas of the far right, especially corporatism were in vogue in Ireland, even with ministers of the democratically elected Irish government, and seemed to chime well with Catholic social teaching and these ideas were mixed with more traditional Irish nationalism and especially a hostility to partition.

By March 1942, though, Ó Cuinneagáin wished for a wider and more explicitly political organisation and so established the party as an openly fascist party with the aim of establishing him as the single leader of Ireland. [4]

The Department of Justice estimated the party's Dublin city membership after six months in existence to be about 30 or 40, with very few supporters outside Dublin.[5]

After an internal split in late 1945, Aiséirghe's influence weakened. It was in some respects overtaken by the radical Clann na Poblachta, which shared some of its economic and cultural theories but without the anti-democratic and anti-Semitic elements.[6]

On the morning of 14 May 1949, posters saying “Arm Now to Take the North.” were put up by the party in Dublin and other large towns. The Gardaí responded by tearing down the posters.[7]

Ailtirí na hAiséirghe held its last formal meeting in 1958, though the party newspaper, Aiséirghe, continued to appear until the early 1970s.


The party wished to create a fascist one-party state ruled by a leader known as a 'Ceannaire'. Aiséirghe promised full employment, an end to emigration (by making it a criminal offence to leave the country), discrimination against Jews and freemasons, and the reconquest of Northern Ireland by a massive conscript army. It also promised to make the use of the English language in public illegal after five years in power.[8]

The party intended for the state to stay out of World War II until the participants were worn out, and for Ireland to then emerge as a spiritual leader to the world.[9]

A group called "Aontacht na gCeilteach" (Celtic Unity) was established in November 1942, to promote a pan-Celtic vision. It was headed by Éamonn Mac Murchadha. MI5 believed it to be a front for Ailtirí na hAiséirghe, intended to serve as "a rallying point for Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Breton nationalists". The group had the same postal address as the party. At its foundation the group stated that "the present system is utterly repugnant to the Celtic conception of life" and called for a new order based upon a "distinctive celtic philosophy". Ailtiri na hAiseirghe itself had a pan-celtic vision and had established contacts with pro-Welsh independence political party Plaid Cymru and Scottish independence activist Wendy Wood. One day the party covered South Dublin city with posters saying "Rhyddid i gCymru" (Freedom for Wales).[10]

Political support

Its supporters included former Cumann na nGaedheal government ministers Ernest Blythe and James Joseph Walsh (Blythe had also been a leading member of the Blueshirts), and Monetary Reform Party TD Oliver J. Flanagan.[11] Seán Treacy,[12] the future Labour Party TD and Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, was a party member in the 1940s, as were the novelist Brian Cleeve,[13] the Daoist philosopher Wei Wu Wei[14] and the broadcaster and author Breandán Ó hEithir.[12] Although never a member, Seán South was familiar with the group's publications.[15] Other sources have stated that South was either a member or supporter of Ailtirí na hAiséirghe.[16]

Electoral history

The party obtained no seats in the 1943 and 1944 general elections.[17] In the 1945 local government elections, however, Aiséirghe candidates won nine seats (out of 31 contested), gaining a total of more than 11,000 first-preference votes. Put in context, this comprised less than 1% of the then electoral roll of 1,803,000.



  • Douglas, R. M. (2009). Architects of the Resurrection: Ailtirí na hAiséirghe and the Fascist 'New Order' in Ireland. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-7998-5. 


  1. British Spies and Irish Rebels, Paul McMahon
  2. Ó Drisceoil, Donal (1996). Censorship in Ireland, 1939-1945. Cork: Cork University Press. ISBN 978-1-85918-074-7.
  3. Manning, Maurice (1972). Irish Political Parties: An Introduction. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7171-0536-6.
  4. That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland During the Second World War, Clair Willis, Faber and Faber, London 2007, ISBN 9780571234479, pp. 364 - 367
  6. Douglas, R. M. "Ailtirí na hAiséirghe: Ireland's fascist New Order". History Ireland. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  10. Architects of Resurrection: Ailtiri na hAiserighe and the fascist 'new order' in Ireland by R. M. Douglas (pg 271)
  11. Eoin O'Duffy, Fearghal McGarry
  12. 1 2 Douglas (2009), p. 250
  13. Douglas (2009), p. 163
  14. Douglas (2009), pp. 154-5
  15. Douglas 2009, pp. 285-7
  17. Defending Ireland: the Irish state and its enemies, Eunan O'Halpin

Further reading

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