Years Active:1971
Groups & Sections:Athol Books  … Publishing Imprint
Aubane Historical Society  … Close Association
Northwest Labour Publications  … Publishing Imprint
Workers' Association  (1972) … Close Association
Documents in Archive:17
Publications:Workers' Weekly, The Northern Star, The Irish Communist, The Communist, Irish Political Review, Communist Comment, Comment, Church and State
Precursor:Irish Communist Organisation
Other Related Organisations: Communist Organisation in the British Isles, Campaign for Labour Representation, Socialists Against Nationalism
Timeline:View in the timeline of the Irish left
Discuss:Comments on this organisation


The British and Irish Communist Organisation (BICO) was a communist party led by Brendan Clifford and based largely in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and London. It developed from the earlier Irish Communist Organisation (ICO).

BICO produced a large number of publications, under the BICO name as well as several publishing imprints. Its activity in Northern Ireland was largely through the Workers’ Association.

BICO adhered to a “two Nations” position on Northern Ireland, which supported the autonomy of Unionist NI from the Irish state. Its members had a prominent role in the Campaign for Labour Representation (which sought to get the British Labour party to run in Northern Ireland) and Socialists Against Nationalism,

Members were also involved in the foundation of the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), and later in the Labour Coalition (which represented Left and Labour groups in the NI peace process), though by that time the BICO name was essentially defunct.

As the activity of BICO declined in the 1990s, members subsequent activities are largely through the publications of Athol Books, the Aubane Historical Society, and the Ernest Bevin Society in the UK.

Other names, groups or sections

  • Athol Books

    Athol Books is the publishing imprint originally associated with BICO, though continuing after BICO essentially dissolved. It publishes Church & State and Irish Political Review.

  • Aubane Historical Society

    The Aubane Historical Society was originally formed as a local history organisation, but expanded to publications opposing the “revisionist” movement in Irish history. It publishes work from former B&ICO members Brendan Clifford, Jack Lane and others.

  • Workers' Association

    The Workers’ Association was established by the British and Irish Communist Organisation in Northern Ireland in 1972. It published Workers Weekly. Though generally using the shorter title, the group’s full name was Workers’ Association for the Democratic Settlement of the National Conflict in Ireland.

  • Identifiers

    British and Irish Communist Organisation
    ISNI0000 0001 0068 886X 
    WikipediaBritish and Irish Communist Organisation 
    Athol Books
    Aubane Historical Society
    WikipediaAubane Historical Society 
    Workers' Association


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