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Brendan McKenna (Irish: Breandán Mac Cionnaith,[1] b.~1958[citation needed]) is an Irish politician and a prominent residents' group leader. He is the General Secretary of éirígí, a socialist republican party, and was previously an adviser to Sinn Féin members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. He came to prominence in the 1990s as the spokesman for the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition (also known as the Garvaghy Road Residents' Association). In the early 1980s, McKenna was jailed for six years for his involvement in blowing up the British Legion hall in Portadown.[2]

Garvaghy stand-off

From 1996, McKenna had been the spokesman for the Garvaghy Road residents in the Drumcree conflict, which centres on the desire of the Orange Order to walk a traditional route through an area which had become predominantly Roman Catholic. In 1997 he was elected to Craigavon Borough Council for the Portadown area and sat on the council until 2001[3]

Prior to 2002, McKenna had received death threats and a live bullet had been sent to him.[4]

Resignation

On the 10th of April 2007, McKenna resigned from Sinn Féin — the suspicion being that the resignation was due to the party's support of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.[5][6] Nevertheless, McCionnaigh continues to serve as spokesman for the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition and, in February 2010, he helped formulate a joint submission to the Northern Ireland Assembly's Working Party on Parading Issues. See http://orangecitadel.blogspot.com/.

McKenna has been critical of the Orange Institution and of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (now the Police Service of Northern Ireland).[1] McKenna is also a prominent campaigner for an inquiry into the murder of solicitor Rosemary Nelson.[1]

McKenna joined the Sinn Féin splinter group éirígí, and was elected General Secretary of the organisation in May 2009.

References

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