Founded in 1984, the WSM was oriented towards socialism at a time when radical liberalism was particularly influential in British Anarchism, which was as culturally influential then as tendencies from the United States are today. Given the historical weakness of Irish socialism, let alone anarchism, the few precursors of which came out of the Official Republican Movement, this explicitly left ideological foundation served to ground the WSM throughout its history. The avowedly socialist orientation served to inoculate for a long-time against too great a penetration of the more individualist strains that have bedevilled Anarchism since the 1880s.
Not that the journey was plain sailing. Building any sort of socialist movement in what was still a fairly backward and underdeveloped country dominated by a highly religious and rural culture was always going to be an uphill task, one made harder by the lingering presence of a radical nationalist movement.