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Brother of Martin McGuinness working with former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín to establish new pro-life republican party

A brother of the late Martin McGuinness is to join a former Sinn Féin TD in creating a new pro-life republican party. Picture by Hugh Russell
John Monaghan

A BROTHER of the late Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness is working with one of the party's former TDs to set up a new pro-life republican party.

Declan McGuinness (61) confirmed he had been in contact with Peadar Tóibín, the Meath West TD who resigned from Sinn Féin on Thursday amid a row over its position on abortion.

Mr Tóibín was suspended for six months in 2013 and again for another six months this year after refusing to vote in line with the party's position on the issue.

Following his resignation Mr Tóibín said he now intends to "build a new 32-county movement".

It is understood two men had been in contact before the abortion referendum in May and that the new party will be established ahead of council elections scheduled for next year on both sides of the border. It is believed Mr McGuinness has expressed a willingness to stand as a candidate.

His wife Eileen is a sister of the Martin McGuinness's wife Bernadette Canning.

Mr McGuinness, a retired Housing Executive employee from Derry, told The Sunday Times: "I'm talking to you only to confirm that I am working with Peadar.

"I'm anxious not to look as if I'm courting Martin's fame," he added.

Martin McGuinness, the former deputy first minister who died in March last year, was at the helm of the Sinn Féin leadership alongside Gerry Adams for more than three decades.

The efforts to create a new pro-life republican party have also been supported by husband and wife Francie and Anne Brolly, who both quit Sinn Féin over the abortion issue.

Mrs Brolly, a former Mayor of Limavady, said: "I could not live with the fact that Mary Lou McDonald or Gerry Adams or anyone else would be my conscience. We're very supportive of what Peadar is doing."

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