American anti-war campaigner and former senator Tom Hayden dies aged 76

Former American senator Tom Hayden died on Sunday at his home in California. Picture by George Brich, Associated Press
John Monaghan

A FORMER American senator and anti-war campaigner described as a "friend and ally" by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has died aged 76.

Tom Hayden died at his home in California on Sunday after a lengthy illness.

A former assemblyman and senator in California, he served on the state's legislature from 1982 to 2000.

He was married on three occasions, including to the actress Jane Fonda from 1973 to 1990.

Born to parents of Irish ancestry, Mr Hayden wrote in 2011 that he had been named after the republican Thomas Emmet and described Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams as the "catalysts and negotiators of the peace process."

He founded Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and was at the forefront of the anti-war movements of the 1960s.

An author of 19 books, he was a member of the 'Chicago Seven' arrested during anti-Vietnam War protests in 1968.

Charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines to incite a riot, Mr Hayden was eventually acquitted of all charges.

Sinn Féin leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams said: "Tom was a truly iconic figure who had a profound and lasting influence on the direction of American politics in the 60s and 70s."

"His identification with Ireland and his pride in his Irish roots are well documented."

Mr Adams added: "He was a friend and an ally. He was outspoken about his support for justice and equality in Ireland and visited the north many times."

Fr Seán Mc Manus, from the American-based Irish National Caucus, said: "Tom was a most impressive man. A great American and an ardent Irishman. God rest his noble Irish soul. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

The Reverend Jesse Jackson also paid tribute, calling Mr Hayden "a passionate advocate for peace and justice."

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