Republican Sinn Fein has named a new party President, Seosamh O Mhaoileoin, at its Ard Fheis [annual conference] last weekend, replacing Des Dalton without an election.
In a brief statement, the party said Mr O Mhaoileoin was from a republican family that stretched back generations.
“He has taken on this difficult job at a critical time and all here today and throughout our organisation pledge our support and we will do all within our power to assist him in his new position,” the party said.
“We welcome Des Dalton back as a rank and file member and wish him the best of luck in rebuilding locally in his own area.”
It is understood the election of a new president had been expected for some months to replace Mr Dalton, who stepped down due to other commitments. The Kildare man had held the Presidency of RSF for nine years after succeeding Ruairi O Bradaigh, the party’s first President after the split with the Adams/McGuinness leadership.
Mr O Mhaoileoin was unveiled as Uachtaran at the opening of the Ard Fheis in Dublin’s Teacher’s Club last Saturday. A former political prisoner, he was among those who formed the traditionalist republican party following the split in 1986 and sat on its first caretaker executive.
In recent years, Mr O Mhaoileoin served as the regular Chief Marshall at the annual Bodenstown commemoration of Republican Sinn Fein. He has a love of sport is a fluent Irish speaker. In Portlaoise prison, he edited the Irish-language prison paper “Macalla”.
Vienna-based academic Dieter Reinisch, who interviewed Mr O Mhaoileoin in 2015, described him as “one of the most humble, genuine and open-minded republicans” in Ireland. He said his history in the republican movement stretches back to the early days of the conflict and that his appointment would be “a stabilising factor” for the party.
Republican Sinn Fein currently has one elected representative, Tomas O Curraoin who sits on Galway County Council.
* In a separate development, Brian Leeson, the chairperson of Eirigi, has announced he is to contest the local elections in May next year. A former Sinn Fein National Organiser, who helped form the socialist republican party following a split in Sinn Fein in 2006, Mr Leeson will be a candidate in the Dundrum Local Electoral Area in south Dublin. Eirigi currently has no elected representatives.