Political leader Sean Garland’s funeral takes place in Dublin


Political leader Sean Garland’s funeral takes place in Dublin

The former Workers’ Party president died from cancer in Co. Meath on December 13

The funeral of Irish political leader Sean Garland has taken place in Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery.

The former Workers’ Party president died from cancer in Co Meath on December 13, aged 84.

Hundreds of people followed the hearse into the cemetery, as Uilleann pipes played Raglan Road.

His Belfast-born widow Mary, who he met while living in Glasgow, followed close to the wicker coffin with his daughter Caoimhe, which was covered in both the Tricolour and the Starry Plough flags.

A colour party of Workers’ Party members followed the hearse, holding the same flags.

Marian Donnelly recited a eulogy to the “socialist, internationalist and revolutionary” during the humanist ceremony.

Mourners were told of the much-loved grandfather’s life and dedication to his political ideals, including an assassination attempt in 1975 that saw him shot six times in front of his wife, and an American arrest warrant that claimed he had conspired with the North Korean government in the late 1990s to distribute fake $100 bills.

The folk ballad Joe Hill was sung by Eilis Ryan, and a poem written by Walt Whitman was recited to mourners by Elaine Rush.

Mr Garland’s last message to his comrades read: “I would like to thank you for your loyalty, continued friendship and comradeship over the years.

“In our continued struggle for a Secular Socialist Republic, I urge you all to continue the fight and remember without unity and loyalty to each other we are nothing.”


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Mr Garland took part in the IRA’s border campaign in the 1950s, but after the cessation of violence was a leading proponent of the socialism which split the organisation and led to the rise of the Provisionals.

He was involved in an attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks in Brookeborough in Co Fermanagh on January 1 1957, which led to the deaths of fellow IRA members Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, an event marked by song and lore in republican circles.

Mr Garland was part of a group of senior republicans, including Cathal Goulding and Tomas Mac Giolla, influenced by internationalist communism during the 1960s.

Throughout the violence of the 1980s and 1990s, the Workers’ Party promoted dialogue about peaceful co-existence in Northern Ireland.

The Official IRA split with the Belfast-led Provisionals in 1970. Mr Garland was a key figure in the Official IRA ceasefire in 1972.

Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn was among those present as Mr Garland’s funeral.

Press Association


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