#OTD in 1944 – Death of politician, journalist, intelligence agent and paramilitary activist, Frank Ryan.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Frank Ryan was born in Co Limerick, in 1902. After leaving university he became an active member of the Irish Republican Army and fought in the Irish Civil War. In 1929 Ryan was appointed editor of An Phoblacht, the IRA newspaper. He was imprisoned several times over the following years for publishing seditious articles and for contempt of court.

In 1931 he helped to organise the short-lived radical group Saor Éire. He was aware of the growing wave of fascism in Europe and wanted to build up a united front in Ireland against it. Peadar O’Donnell, George Gilmore and others withdrew from the IRA when their call for a Republican Congress, a successor organisation to Saor Éire, was narrowly defeated at an Army Convention. They founded the Congress outside the Republican Movement in October 1934 but within a year it had foundered. The atmosphere of clericalist anti-communism which made it, like…

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