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27 September 2001 Edition

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Death of Kevin Boland

The death ocurred this week of former Fianna Fáil government minister Kevin Boland. He was 84.

At the outset of the current phase of conflict in Ireland, Boland resigned as a minister in Jack Lynch's government over the sacking of two other government ministers, Neil Blaney and Charles Haughey, because they had allegedly attempted to import arms for supply to nationalists in the Six Counties.

Boland attacked Lynch for the abdication of his national responsibilities by failing to act decisively in relation to the plight of nationalists in the North, who were then being subjected to loyalist pogroms and murderous attacks by the RUC. As a result, he was sidelined within the Fianna Fáil party.

After Haughey and Blaney were acquitted by the courts in Dublin of conspiracy to import arms illegally, Boland refused to take the Fianna Fáil whip in Leinster House and then resigned his Dáil seat.

Boland founded a new party, Aontacht Éireann, which was a short-lived affair that failed to attract Fianna Fáil dissidents.

Although Boland had resigned over the treatment of Blaney and Haughey, he was later to become increasingly hostile to Haughey and attacked his policies, particularly those in relation to the North. In the 1980s, he actively opposed the introduction and practice of political extradition of republicans to the Six Counties and Britain. Boland was also active in the Irish National Congress (INC).

Kevin Boland was the son of Gerald Boland, a founder member of Fianna Fáil and Minister for Justice under Eamon de Valera. His uncle was Harry Boland, former associate of Michael Collins who served and was killed on the republican side during the Civil War.

Kevin Boland was a member of Dublin Corporation before he was elected to Leinster House in 1957. He became Minister for Defence on his first day as a TD.

After the 1961 general election, Boland became Minister for Social Welfare under a government headed by Sean Lemass.

When Jack Lynch took over as Taoiseach in 1966, Boland became Minister for Local Government. He returned to Social Welfare following the 1969 General Election.

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