WEXFORD, Ireland (AP) _ Sean Cloney, a Catholic farmer whose marriage to his Protestant childhood sweetheart engulfed a rural community in sectarianism, died Tuesday. He was 74.

Cloney died in Wexford Hospital from pneumonia.

The story of Cloney and his wife, the former Sheila Kelly, was made into an Irish film last year called ``A Love Divided,'' which reflected deep-rooted religious divides and the sway of the Catholic clergy in rural Ireland in the 1950s.

Mrs. Cloney's decision to educate her daughters at home instead of a Catholic school in the village of Fethard-on-Sea, in County Wexford, prompted a parish priest to orchestrate a 1957 boycott of Protestant businesses.

The boycott ended when the Kelly family and the local lawmaker, a Catholic, made a joint appeal and a priest bought a pack of cigarettes from a Protestant-owned shop. Mrs. Cloney continued to educate her children at home.

Catholic Bishop Brendan Comiskey, whose diocese covers much of County Wexford, apologized publicly for the boycott at a 1998 ecumenical service in Wexford and promised ``to do whatever I can to make amends.''

Cloney, who had been paralyzed from the neck down since a 1995 operation that went wrong, had expressed delight.

``It is a difficult thing to apologize, though it is a source of regret that it has taken 41 years,'' he said at the time. ``Nevertheless, I am glad to have lived to see this day.''

Cloney is survived by his wife, and their daughters Eileen and Hazel.

Cloney's funeral Mass will be held Thursday in Wexford's Templeton Catholic Church.