Veteran republican Sean Garland passes away aged 84
VETERAN left-wing Irish republican Sean Garland has died aged 84.
A former president of the Workers’ Party in Ireland, he had also been an active IRA member in the 1950s and later the Official IRA.
The Workers Party said he had been "an inspiration to all of his comrades".
Known as a man of iron ideology, even the fall of the Berlin wall did not deflect him from his commitment to communism.
In the 1950s he joined the IRA, and infiltrated the British Army to procure arms, successfully seizing guns from a barracks.
In his own words, he was "actively involved in organising and participating in a number of major operations from 1955-56".
The most famous of these was when he led an IRA squad that attacked a police station in Co Fermanagh where two IRA men, Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, were shot dead. Garland was seriously wounded.
When the IRA split into traditional and Marxist factions in the late 1960s, he opposed the "narrow nationalism" of the Provisionals and pursued a left-wing political path as one of the leaders of the Official IRA.
That group announced a ceasefire in 1972, but for years remained intermittently involved in violence.
In particular, it was embroiled in a series of often lethal feuds with the mainstream IRA and other republican splinter groups.
Born in Dublin in 1934, Garland was arrested in Northern Ireland in 2005 on the foot of an extradition warrant from US authorities.
They wanted to question him about the laundering of high quality counterfeit $100 bill produced in North Korea.
It was alleged he had transported the ‘superdollars’ from North Korean embassies abroad for distribution in Ireland.
Garland was arrested while attending the Workers’ Party ard fheis in Belfast. He denied the charges but jumped bail, fleeing to the Republic. In 2011, a Dublin court refused to extradite him to the US.