Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Slán Libh Ruairí Ó Brádaigh (1932 - 2013)

Rest in peace to an inspirational Irish Republican who has died at the age of 80. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was a former Chief of Staff of the IRA, 32 County TD, President of Sinn Féin, later Republican Sinn Féin president and remained a committed Irish Republican up until his death.

Ruairí joined Sinn Féin in 1950 and the IRA in 1951. In 1955 he led an IRA raid on a British military base in Arborfield in England. He tool part in the IRA Border campaign in the Teeling column which attacked Derrylin RUC barracks in Fermanagh.

He was imprisoned by Free State authorities for fighting for Irish freedom and whilst in jail he was elected as an all Ireland T.D for Sinn Féin. He was then interned in the Curragh camp but escaped with his comrade Daithí Ó Conaill in 1958. He then became IRA Chief of Staff until 1959.

In 1970 when the Goulding leadership of Sinn Féin tried to move away from the Republican position and recognise Stormont, Leinster House and Westminister. Ruairí led a walk out and formed 'provisional' Sinn Féin and became president.

In 1986 when the Adams leadership voted on forming a free state party which would enter Leinster house Ruairí led a walk out of republican Sinn Féiners who refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Free State parliament. He became president of the republican Sinn Féin up until 2009 when he was succeeded by Des Dalton.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh will go down in history as one of the greatest republicans Ireland has ever seen, who defended the sovereign Irish Republic from 'all enemies foreign and domestic' at different stages in his lifetime and a man who ''kept faith with the past and handed on a tradition to the future.''

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam ró-dílis. He stood by his oath to the Republic, while others took the Queen's shilling.

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