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Ó Cuív may look like Don Quixote tilting at Green windmills but there are many dissidents in all parties who will bide their time

John Downing


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Eamon O Cuiv (Niall Carson/PA)

Eamon O Cuiv (Niall Carson/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Eamon O Cuiv (Niall Carson/PA)

Éamon Ó Cuív, who celebrates his 70th birthday next Tuesday, appears at first glance to be an unlikely radical trying to upend the coalition plans of three parties. But the man they used to call "Dev Óg", because of his striking resemblance to his grandfather and Fianna Fáil founder Éamon de Valera, is hard to pigeonhole.

Born, reared and educated in leafy south Dublin, he has over 50-plus years become a champion for communities on the western seaboard, and remains a true believer in the Gaelic-speaking world.

Critics inside his party and without will dub his attack on the Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael-Green Party coalition as something of a shilling each way.