Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

Tribute to Brian Mór Ó Baoighill

Statement from the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton

Irish Republicans were saddened to hear the news of the death of Brian Mór Ó Baoighill, in New York. Brian was a life-long Irish Republican activist and a man steeped in the history and revolutionary Fenian tradition of Irish America.

Brian’s unique gifts as an artist were given selflessly to aid the cause of a free Ireland. His paintings were used to highlight the plight of the Hunger Strikers in 1981 as well as every other facet of the ongoing struggle against British rule in Ireland. Famously in December 1983 he was responsible for an electronic sign in New York’s Time Square sending out Christmas greetings to Republican prisoners. Brian took great pride in the fact the British Ambassador was questioned over the sign. Brian used his artwork as a weapon against imperialism and in defence of the men and women of no property. Among his last works were cartoons in opposition to the visit by the Queen of England to the 26 Counties in May of last year.

In June of last year he wrote an open letter to the Lord Mayor of Belfast to protest at one of his poster artworks, commemorating Theobald Wolfe Tone and the 1798 Rising, being hung in Belfast City hall. Brian saw this as merely an attempt to distract from the fact that Belfast and the rest of the Six Counties were still occupied by British forces. In his own inimitable style Brian finished his letter by declaring: “When the Belfast City Hall is located in a united Ireland, not the United Kingdom, I would be honored to see my artwork displayed. Until then, I request that it be taken down. Moving the picture of the Queen of England from one wall to another does not in any way make Belfast part of a United Ireland. I object to my artwork being used to pretend otherwise.”

Brian’s involvement in the cause of Ireland stretches out over five decades, he was a founder member of Irish Northern Aid (NORAID) in 1972 and worked with the Irish People newspaper for almost 20 years. In 1986 he rejected the attempts of a reformist leadership to hijack Republican Movement and was among the founders of Cumann na Saoirse of which he remained an officer up to his death. Brian had a deep understanding and knowledge of Irish history and was a living link with previous generations of Irish Republicans who fanned the flames of revolutionary Republicanism such as Michael Flannery, Joe Stynes and George Harrison. Brian very much followed in their footsteps and ensured that the torch was passed to a new generation. Brian Mór was a friend, comrade and mentor to succeeding generations of activists in the cause of Irish Freedom in the US and Ireland over many years and was always willing to give freely of his time and experience.

Brian leaves behind a gap in the ranks but his legacy of unflinching loyalty and tireless commitment to ideal of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week is an inspiration to his friends and comrades on both sides of the Atlantic. In the words of Thomas Davis: “The rudder of our ship was he, our castle’s corner stone.”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.

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"We of Republican Sinn Féin are the nucleus, which represents what Emmet represented,
the soul of Ireland,the prophetic shock minority, those who are neither purchased nor intimidated."

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