Irish Republican News · October 16, 2009
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Prisoners back INLA peace move

Prisoners associated with the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) currently being held at Portlaoise jail in the Irish midlands have endorsed a statement on Sunday in which the INLA’s armed struggle was declared to be at an end.

A prominent figure within the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (RSM), Peggy O’Hara, mother of revered INLA hunger striker Patsy O’Hara, has also supported the move, which caused some confusion and anger among the group’s own supporters.

In their statement, the 14 named prisoners of E4 landing at Portlaoise said they “unanimously support the leadership of the Republican Socialist Movement and in doing so fully endorse the ongoing developments presently taking place.

“We fully support the leadership of the Irish National Liberation Army and the decision that ‘The armed struggle is over’.

“We look forward with confidence as our movement continues to work towards achieving our ultimate goal of establishing a 32 County Irish Socialist Republic.

“Saoirse go deo.”

Meanwhile, Peggy O’Hara said she is “happy with the announcement and happy that the political stance of the movement has not changed.

“The main thing for me is that they still remain implacably opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the notion of a British police force in Ireland.

“I understand that it is only the tactics that have changed and that the political objectives remain the same as they were in 1981.

“I give my full support to the republican socialist movement,” she added.

Mrs O’Hara stood as an independent republican candidate in the Assembly elections in 2007.

Meanwhile, IRSP ard comhairle member Martin McMonagle claimed the families of INLA members who died during the conflicted had been consulted before Sunday’s announcement.

“A series of talks have been going on for the last few years,” he said.

“Families were happy in 1998 when the ceasefire was announced and that has not changed,” he added.

Mr McMonagle insisted the move was supported by the “vast majority” of republican socialists.

Fellow IRSP ard comhairle member WIllie Gallagher explained why the RSM leadership had been taken the decision to stand down the INLA.

“The INLA has been on ceasefire for eleven years now, a decision that was taken on the back of the referenda of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The INLA were and still are opposed to that agreement and see it as copper fastening partition. But they recognised the will of the people in wanting an end to armed struggle.

“They are on record in 1999 as saying that their war is over so the next logical question is what is the raison d’etre of the INLA?

“There has been broad discussions within the republican socialist movement on that question and there has been a number of debates both internal and external. By external I mean the trade unions and within republican socialism both national and international and they feel it’s time to leave the stage,” he said.

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© 2009 Irish Republican News