Francie Brolly

Francis Brolly (12 January 1938 – 6 February 2020) was an Irish musician, teacher and Irish republican politician from Dungiven, Northern Ireland. He was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007 as a Sinn Féin member for the East Londonderry constituency. He resigned in 2010.

Francie Brolly
Francie Brolly 2012.jpg
Brolly in 2012
Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
for East Londonderry
In office
26 November 2003 – 12 January 2010
Preceded byMichael Coyle
Succeeded byBilly Leonard
Personal details
Born13 January 1938
Dungiven, Northern Ireland
Died6 February 2020(2020-02-06) (aged 82)
Political partyAontu (2018–2020)
Other political
Sinn Féin (until 2018)
Spouse(s)Anne Brolly
ChildrenJoe, Proinnsías, Conal, Áine & Nodlaig
OccupationMusician, teacher, politician

His wife, Anne Brolly was the first Sinn Féin Mayor and the first female Mayor of Limavady between 2003 and 2004, the council to which she was elected in 2001.

In 2005, he was arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and questioned about a bombing incident in the village of Claudy in 1972.[1] An official complaint was lodged with the Police Ombudsman regarding the lawfulness of the arrest and this investigation is ongoing. Brolly mounted a legal challenge in relation to the arrest against the PSNI, which settled out of court.

In February 2018, Brolly left the Sinn Fein Party over its support for abortion [2] In March 2018 he and his wife joined Aontú, a new anti-abortion republican party founded by former Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín.[3]


Brolly was an Irish culture enthusiast. A lyricist and musician, he wrote many well-known Irish republican songs, most famously The H-Block Song. His daughter, Nodlaig, is also a well-known singer and Celtic harpist.[4] He served as the Assembly spokesperson for Sinn Féin on Culture, Arts and Leisure, sitting on that Department's oversight committee. He was also an Irish language enthusiast and a fluent speaker of the language.[5]

He was a long-standing member of the GAA[5] and played football for Derry. He was an Executive Committee Member of St Canice's GAC Dungiven.[6] His son Joe Brolly was part of Derry's 1993 All-Ireland Championship winning side and has won two All Stars.


Francie Brolly died on 6 February 2020.[7]


  1. ^ Peterkin, Tom (30 November 2005). "Belfast bank man held over £26m robbery". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  2. ^ Young, Connla. "Former MLA Francie Brolly resigns from Sinn Féin over abortion". The Irish News. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  3. ^ Young, Connla (18 March 2019). "Anne and Francie Brolly to stand for Aontú in local elections". The Irish News. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Nollaig". Wren Records. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b Sinn Féin Assembly members
  6. ^ 2007 Committee Officers – Na hOifigigh Archived 30 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Francie Brolly: Former Sinn Féin MLA dies
Northern Ireland Assembly
Preceded by
Michael Coyle
MLA for East Londonderry
Succeeded by
Billy Leonard