“Longford’s Soldier Boy” – The Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Song

Longfords Soldier Boy“Rainsoaked and covered with dust, Ó Brádaigh and five others ducked into a house in the tiny village of Clinty, about a mile from Ballyconnell.  Gardaí surrounded the house, saw the men inside, and entered through the back door.  When a superintendent asked who was in charge, Ó Brádaigh said he was and instructed the other to provide only names and addresses.  They had dumped their weapons and were unarmed, but Ó Brádaigh had a haversack that contained ammunition, a practice grenade, a copy of Cronin’s Notes of Guerilla Warfare.  They were put into police cars and taken to Ballyconnell police station.  On the way, he quietly tossed the ammunition out of the car’s window, but the police spotted this, retrieved the ammunition, and then went through the haversack.” – Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, The Life and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary.

I refuse to become a party politician of the 26-County brand, and will continue to uphold the policy which the electorate of Longford-Westmeath have endorsed.  I will sit only in an All-Ireland Parliament and will continue to strive to make such an institution a living reality.”  – Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

“He told the crowd, “Sinn Féin aims at abolishing both the Leinster House and Stormont Parliaments, and substituting for them an All-Ireland Parliament.  How could Sinn Féin contribute towards the abolition of the 26-County Parliament by sitting in it and actually consolidating it?”  In electing him, his constituents had endorsed his abstentionism.  Even though he was a TD, he had been accosted on the street, arrested, and sent to jail simply because he refused to compromise his principles and recognize the authority of the 26-County state.” – The Life and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary.

Ruairís releaseRepublican Sinn Féin rally in Longford, probably the May 1960 rally welcoming Ó Brádaigh home after his release from Mountjoy prison.

(Photography from the Ó Brádaigh family collection, taken from The Life and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary)