• June 9, 2013


Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, who died yesterday, was probably one of the most significant republicans to exert influence on the Irish struggle, for total freedom from the British, over the past eighty years.

His progress through the ranks of the republican movement is well documented via the audacious Aborfield Barracks arms raid of 1955, Operation Harvest – the 150s Border campaign -, to the senior echelons of the political movement, first in Provisional Sinn Fein and later, after another of the inevitable splits, which bedevils all Celtic nationalist movements, to Republican Sinn Fein (RSF).

He was reputed to have been a Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army in the late 1960s and certainly was a committed republican all his life and, despite retirement from the front line of RSF in recent years, right up until his death.

Ó Brádaigh was one of a number of republicans who also embraced the Inter-Celtic ideal and championed the cause of minorities.

He was a long-standing member of the Celtic League a fact which was acknowledged when a message from his successor as Chairman of RSF, Des Dalton, was read out at the 5oth AGM of the League in Scotland in 2011. Dalton opened by saying:

“For 50 years the Celtic League has been a tireless champion of the political, cultural, social, economic and environmental rights of the Celtic nations. Our Patron Ruairí Ó Brádaigh is a long-standing member of the Celtic League and he joins with me in extending greetings and Celtic solidarity to you all on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin.”

He was a delegate to the 1985 AGM of the Celtic League held in Dublin in 1985 which was something of a pivotal event for the League as it was the year that Alan Heusaff stood down and I took over as General Secretary.

I only met Ruairí Ó Brádaigh once at the 1985 meeting but can vouch for the fact that he had a wry sense of humour exhibited not least when I suggested he should visit the Isle of Man. I was given a prompt wake-up call in respect of the restrictions too travel faced by him at that time!

No doubt reams will be written some complimentary, some derogatory and others attempting to strike a balance about his life.
Certainly it is unlikely that Ruairí Ó Brádaigh will have have plaudits heaped on him in the way that, on his retirement, another controversial figure of recent Irish history, Ian Paisley, received. At that time, although some of Ó Brádaigh erstwhile colleagues were heaping praise on the `big man’, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was unremitting in his criticism (see link):


A book on his life is in print and was reviewed on Celtic News in 2006 (see link):


Fortunately for history Ruairi O’ Bradaigh was a keen record-keeper and a portion of his personnel papers were lodged on his retirement with the National University of Ireland, Galway which presumably will now be the recipient of the balance.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was always uncompromising in his denunciations of any political accommodation which fell short of the sovereign Ireland the original Dail aspired to for that he will always be remembered.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

General Secretary, Celtic League:


The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

Internet site at:



About Author


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Celtic League
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x