Liam O'Flaherty, 88, an Irish novelist and short story writer whose grim novel of betrayal, "The Informer," became a movie classic, died Sept. 7 at a hospital in Dublin. The cause of death was not reported.

His career was one of the more turbulent among 20th century Irish writers. His life ranged from study for priesthood and combat service with the British Army in World War I, to a stint as an Irish Communist politician.

A champion of the Irish language, Mr. O'Flaherty was known as one of Ireland's most down-to-earth authors. Along with contemporaries Sean O'Faolain and Frank O'Connor, he achieved considerable acclaim in the English-speaking world, notably the United States, during the period following Irish independence.

Mr. O'Flaherty frequently wrote about the squalor and doom of the Irish struggle for independence from Britain, but he also wrote about ordinary people and animals, and the ever-conquering influence of nature on their lives.

Largely ignored in his homeland for years, several of his books were banned by the rigid Irish Censorship Board. Today, his works are included in standard high school literature courses in many Irish schools.

The 1935 film version of "The Informer," about a man who sold out his comrades for money in the Irish civil war of the 1920s, made him world famous. The film won Academy Awards for Victor McLaglen as best actor and John Ford as best director.

Mr. O'Flaherty's first novel, "Thy Neighbour's Wife," was published in 1923, and his last, "Insurrection" in 1950. During the intervening years, he published 36 novels, short story collections and volumes of autobiography. Most critics consider his 1937 novel, "Famine," a story of the Irish potato famines in the 1840s, to be his best work.

His other major novels included "Skerrett," the story of a feud between a schoolteacher and a parish priest, and "Civil War." His best-known short story collection was "The Pedlar's Revenge." He also wrote political and travel books, including "I Went to Russia," published in 1931, and "A Tourist's Guide to Ireland."

Mr. O'Flaherty was born on Inishmore in the Aran Islands. He had studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood but left the clergy and joined Britain's Irish Guards Regiment in World War I. He was severely wounded in 1917 and also suffered what then was called "shell shock."

After the war, he traveled widely in Canada, the United States and South America, working as a miner, a lumberjack and a bank clerk. He began writing after settling in England in 1922. Later that year, he helped found the Irish Communist Party.

Survivors include his wife, the former Margaret Barrington, from whom he was separated, and two daughters, Pegeen O'Sullivan and Joyce Rathbone, both of London.