Sunday 23 April 2017

Brendan McGahon refused to stop shaming sneaky regarders

The modest but intrepid ex-TD was a courageous and lifelong opponent of violent republicanism, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

ADMIRED: Brendan McGahon ‘spoke out at a difficult time’
ADMIRED: Brendan McGahon ‘spoke out at a difficult time’

The Fine Gael TD, the late Brendan McGahon, once said: "I am a very humble backbencher. I do not have the qualities to be a minister...but I do have the ability, the courage to speak out against the underlying problem which is the root cause of the economic troubles of this country and that is the IRA, the terror involved and the ambivalence that permeates Irish life with regard to the IRA."

And, God bless him, this modest, decent man did speak out bravely and eloquently again and again during his 20 years in the Dail, despite numerous threats to his life and his business.

In 1981, a year before being elected for Louth, he refused to yield to the threats of local paramilitaries who were demanding he shut his Dundalk newsagents during the funerals of hunger strikers. In towns around Ireland, shopkeepers were shutting their doors - many of them terrorised by men in balaclavas.

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