THE Workers’ Party in West Belfast has been plunged into turmoil after several senior members in the Lower Falls offered their resignations in a row over a memorial tribute to dead IRA volunteers and party members. The split came after four newly-erected plaques which contained the names of over 90 fallen members of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party were taken down from a new memorial, located beside the Lower Falls Recreation and Social Club on the Grosvenor Road, better known locally as Cyprus Street.
It’s our understanding that the plaques were taken down by other figures within the local Workers’ Party without consultation with members who put them up.
The Workers’ Party has rejected claims of a split. “That is absolutely untrue,” said General Secretary of the Workers’ Party in Ireland, John Lowry.
Nevertheless, we can reveal that anger is growing deeper in the Grosvenor among unhappy members as each day passes without the plaques being put back up. “There’s some differences of opinion, as far as know, on what exactly should go on the memorial garden, which isn’t unusual amongst the committee members. But from what I understand, the garden has not opened and it’s not due to open for another four to five weeks.”
Mickey McCorry, a senior member of the Workers’ Party in the lower Falls, said of the disappearing name plaques: “It’s the first I’ve heard of it.”
He added: “There is a plaque going up within the next few days and it is the plaque that was decided upon by the committee that were involved in it,” he said.
“I have no idea. I don’t know when they went up or when they went down. This is a purely internal thing with the Workers’ Party. I’ve told you what the situation is and I can tell you no more.”
Robert Mateer, one of the main organisers and funders behind the new memorial garden, said there had been “a bit of disagreement” over plaques but wouldn’t comment any further and refused to be drawn on whether a split has occurred in the party. He also would not comment on whether he was one of the members to have offered their resignations over the issue.
“I really do not have any comment to make on this matter and I do not want to go into it any detail,” he told us yesterday.