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Sinn Féin names hunger striker as Adams' replacement

Pat Sheehan – who spent 55 days on hunger strike in 1981 – will replace the Sinn Féin president in Stormont.

Pat Sheehan addresses last night's Sinn Féin meeting at which he was nominated to succeed Gerry Adams in the Stormont Assembly.
Pat Sheehan addresses last night's Sinn Féin meeting at which he was nominated to succeed Gerry Adams in the Stormont Assembly.
Image: PA

SINN FÉIN has nominated a former IRA hunger striker released from jail under the Good Friday Agreement to fill the seat in the Northern Assembly being vacated by party president Gerry Adams.

Pat Sheehan (52) will succeed Adams as one of the six MLAs for the Belfast West constituency, when Adams steps down as part of his campaign to seek election to Dáil Éireann.

Sheehan spent 55 days on hunger strike in the Maze Prison in 1981 as part of an infamous protest that ultimately saw 10 IRA prisoners starve to death. He had been incarcerated as a result of his part in an IRA bombing.

Sheehan, from the republican heartland of the Falls Road, was twice jailed for IRA activity, but was released under the terms of the Good Friday agreement and now works full-time for Coiste na n-Iarchimí (or ‘committee of former prisoners’), an organisation for republican former inmates.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Sheehan had been “close to death” when the strike ended; RTÉ adds that he had begun to have problems with his vision when the protest ceased, weighing 97 pounds (less than 7 stone; 44kg) when the protest ended on October 3, 1981.

Adams announced on Sunday he would be seeking election in Louth when the next general election is called in the Republic, hoping to succeed party colleague Arthur Morgan who last week said he would not seek re-election.

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Gavan Reilly

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