Northern Ireland

Former Sinn Féin president Ruairí Ó Brádaigh dies

Veteran Irish republican and former president of Sinn Féin , Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, has died aged 80.

Ó Brádaigh served as the president of Provisional Sinn Féin until 1983, when he was ousted from the position by his successor, Gerry Adams

In 1986, Ó Brádaigh led a split from Sinn Féin and founded Republican Sinn Féin.

Ó Brádaigh was originally from County Longford, where he qualified as a teacher.

He became a TD (member of the Irish parliament) in the 1950s and was elected for Sinn Féin on an abstentionist ticket.

He is believed to have been chief of staff of the IRA for two periods before it split in 1969. In 1973, he was sentenced to six months in prison for membership of the Provisional IRA.

In 1983, Gerry Adams succeeded him as president of Sinn Féin. In 1986, Ó Brádaigh led the split from Sinn Féin, famously walking out of a party conference.

He left Sinn Féin because he disagreed with the direction in which he believed Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were taking the party.

The roots of the fallout were over a decision to enter the Irish parliament, the Dail, if elected, thus ending the party's policy of abstention.

He went on to set up Republican Sinn Féin, which he claimed "offered a home" to republican dissidents.

The Continuity IRA grew out of the same split among republicans.

In 2009, Ó Brádaigh made headlines again after he would not condemn the murder by the Continuity IRA of Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon, County Armagh.

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