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Sinn Féin's first TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin to stand down

Sinn Féin's first TD of the modern era, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, is to stand down at the end of this Dáil term

THE first Sinn Féin TD to take his seat in the Dáil since the 1920s is to stand down.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, a deputy for Cavan/Monaghan, will step aside from his role at the end of the current Dáil term.

Following his election in 1997, Mr Ó Caoláin, a father-of-five from Monaghan town, became the first Sinn Féin TD since the Civil War to take a seat at Leinster House.

He announced his decision to stand down at a party meeting in Cootehill, Co Cavan, last night.

The former Monaghan county councillor, who is Sinn Féin's longest-serving elected representative in the Republic, said he was stepping down to allow a younger generation of republicans to take on key roles.

Sinn Féin's only TD from 1997 until 2002, Mr Ó Caoláin was appointed his party’s Dáil Leader in 2002, a position he held until then party president Gerry Adams was elected in 2011.

Mr Adams last night described Mr Ó Caoláin as "one of the great stalwarts of Sinn Féin".

"Caoimhghín is passionate about his politics, and compassionate in how he seeks to help those who are the victims of injustice and discrimination," he said.

"His leadership during the hunger strikes of 1980 and 81, and in particular his role as Director of Elections in Cavan-Monaghan during the Anti H-Block campaign of 1981, were crucial in securing the election of Hunger Striker Kieran Doherty.

"As a councillor and a TD Caoimhghín has been a tireless representative for the people of Cavan-Monaghan and a diligent Teachta Dála in the Oireachtas."

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