INLA armed struggle declared over
INLA armed struggle declared over

An announcement was made this afternoon that the INLA's armed struggle is over and that its future will be based around politics through exclusively peaceful means.

A statement to this effect, due to be delivered in Bray, County Dublin at the annual commemoration for republican socialist leader Seamus Costello, who died as a result of a feud in 1977, is carried below.

The Irish National Liberation Army, which was established in 1975, first declared a 'no first strike' policy against loyalist paramilitaries in 1994 and called a complete ceasefire in 1998.

Although it did not participate in the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, INLA prisoners qualified for early release on the basis of its ceasefire.

The organisation has suffered extreme internal pressures throughout its history, with feuding and infighting resulting in the deaths of a number of prominent members.

In recent years, some members advocated a return to armed struggle, while others supported a purely political campaign by its sister organisation, the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

The INLA has also suffered heavily from criminal elements claiming the title as a cover for their activities.

It could not be confirmed if today's development, initially signalled by the BBC and the mainstream British media, had the full backing of the organisation.

Today's announcement comes on the heels of a report on Saturday that the 'Official IRA', an organisation generally believed to have ceased to exist, would engage in an act of weapons decommissioning.

The INLA was initially founded by activists such as Seamus Costello and Thomas 'Ta' Power who broke with the 'Official IRA' following that group's ceasefire in 1972.

The development also comes as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flies in o London and Belfast for talks on the peace process. Speaking in London today following talks with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, she described the breakaway 'Real IRA' as "an evil enterprise".

She said republican armed groups were "out of step and out of time" and called for an end to violence in the North ahead of her visit to Belfast tomorrow.

The following is the statement which was due to be read to the Seamus Costello commemoration today in the name of the leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement. It was placed online by a senior member of the IRSP executive, Willie Gallagher, this lunchtime.

The INLA and IRSP were formed in 1974 in order to create a 32 County Socialist Republic. In those 35 years military volunteers and political activists have fought with courage and honour and have struck at the heart of the British military and political machine in Ireland and in Britain. The INLA is a key constituency within the Republican Socialist Movement (RSM). The INLA recognised that its struggle was based upon two distinct phases:

(1) Armed Resistance
(2) Political Organisation

In 1994 the INLA put in place a no first strike policy and in 1998 called a complete cease-fire. Both of these decisions were based on its political analysis and monitoring of the changing military and political environment. The recent progress on loyalist decommissioning can be traced back to the INLA's "no first strike policy" of 1994 and the INLA acknowledges this progressive step by loyalism.

The RSM has been informed by the INLA that following a process of serious debate, consultation and analysis, it has concluded that the armed struggle is over and the objective of a 32 County Socialist Republic will be best achieved through exclusively peaceful political struggle.

The RSM agree with this analysis and are fully supportive of the move to build a left wing party that has a clear objective of a 32 County Socialist Republic based on the principles of equality, justice, inclusion, human rights and dignity.

It is within the above objective that the RSM opposed the Good Friday Agreement and continues to do so. We as a movement believe that the Six County State is not a viable political entity, which cannot be reformed and fitted into a flawed two State solution.

The RSM has always aspired to the principle of the primacy of politics as espoused by Ta Power.

The future struggles are political. We urge all comrades, members, volunteers and supporters to join the political struggle ahead with the same vigour, commitment and courage that was evident in our armed struggle against the British State.

To para-phrase James Connolly 'let us arise', build a left political alternative in Ireland and support the struggle against global capitalism.

Ultimately our allegiance is to the working class, onwards to victory.


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