Ireland has produced many notable political leaders over the years. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was one of them. Born in Longford in 1932, Ó Brádaigh was from a strong Republican family, his father Matt having been an IRA volunteer who was wounded in action. Ruairí held the position of Chief of Staff of the IRA from 1958-1959, and then again from 1960-1962. He was also President of Sinn Féin from 1970 until 1983 and was central in the dispute within that political party which lead to the formation of Republican Sinn Féin in 1986. Ó Brádaigh was President of RSF until 2009.
He was known as a learned man who thought deeply upon Irish politics and society, and who had a degree in commerce as well as being a fluent Gaelic speaker. In 1955, Ó Brádaigh led an IRA arms raid on a British Army barracks in Berkshire, and in 1956 took part in an attack by the Teeling Column of the IRA on an RUC barracks in Derrylin, County Fermanagh during the Border Campaign . One RUC Constable was killed in the attack. Ó Brádaigh was later arrested and jailed for 6 months in the Irish Free State for failing to account for his whereabouts at the time of the attack.
The Longford Republican was a leading member of the Celtic League, an organisation that aspires to independence for all of the Celtic nations of The Celtic Isles and continental Europe (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man and Brittany).
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh died on 5th June, 2013. His funeral was attended by more than 1800 people. He is interned in Roscommon Town.