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EAMON DE VALERA
Eamon de Valera (1882-1975) was sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the Easter Rising, in which he played a key role, but was subsequently released as part of a general amnesty in 1917. He was at the heart of Ireland's subsequent struggle for independence from British rule. He founded the Fianna F‡il party, meaning 'Soldiers of Destiny', in 1926. They first came to power in 1932, and have been the governing party for most of the period since. Fianna F‡il has consistently supported the reunification of Ireland.
De Valera was prime minister three times (1932-48, 1951-4 and 1957-9) and president from 1959 to 1973. He kept Ireland neutral during World War II.
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