Aontacht Éireann

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Aontacht Éireann
Founder Kevin Boland
Founded 1971 (1971)
Dissolved 1984 (1984)
Ideology Irish republicanism
Politics of the Republic of Ireland
Political parties

Aontacht Éireann (Irish pronunciation: [ɯn̪ˠt̪ˠəxt̪ˠ eːɾʲən̪ˠ]) (English: Irish Unity) was an Irish political party founded by Kevin Boland, a former Fianna Fáil government minister and advocate of Irish republicanism. The party mainly operated within the Republic of Ireland.

Boland resigned from Dáil Éireann on 4 November 1970 as an act of sympathy with sacked ministers Neil Blaney and Charles Haughey, who were dismissed by Taoiseach Jack Lynch following their refusal to support Government policy on Northern Ireland and amid allegations of misuse of aid to Northern Ireland during the Arms Crisis. In May 1971, Boland resigned from Fianna Fáil; on 19 September 1971, he launched the new party before an audience of over one thousand delegates.[1]

Seán Sherwin, Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin South–West, was the only serving member of the Dáil to join Aontacht Éireann.[1] Sherwin would later return to Fianna Fáil and serve as its National Organiser. Desmond Foley, who had served as Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin County North, resigned from the Dáil on the same day as Kevin Boland;[2] he also joined Aontacht Éireann upon its foundation. Captain James Kelly, who was implicated and then cleared in the Arms Trial, became Vice-Chairman of Aontacht Éireann.[3]

The party supported Northern Ireland's republicans more vehemently than Fianna Fáil and took a more left wing stance in terms of economics.[citation needed] At the Irish general election, 1973, Boland and twelve other candidates, including Sherwin and Foley, stood for Dáil Éireann under the Aontacht Éireann banner. None was successful and the party received less than 1% of the total national vote.[1] Boland himself won only 6% of the vote in his constituency, Dublin County South.[4] The party briefly held local representation with Gerry Carroll serving as a member of Cork City Council.

Boland and most of the original members of the party resigned in 1976 after it was taken over by a number of far right individuals. [5] The party was essentially defunct by the time it was formally wound up in 1984.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Gallagher (1985)
  2. ^ Des Foley
  3. ^ Captain James J Kelly: A brief biography
  4. ^ Kevin Boland
  5. ^ O'Maolain, Ciaran. The Radical Right: A World Directory (Keesing's Reference Publications), pg 164.
  6. ^ Barberis, McHugh and Tyldesley (2005)