Saturday 14 March 2009

The Plough Vol 06 No 03

The Plough
Web Site
Vol 6-No 3

Saturday March 14th 2009

E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial

2) Statement.

The following statement was released to the Sunday Tribune on Friday 6th March. An article based on it was published in the Sunday Tribune on Sunday March the 6th by Suzanne Breen. It was given to the Plough on Friday 13th and we re-publish it without comment.

Statement on behalf of the Leadership of the Irish National Liberation Army

We would like to place on public record the position of the Irish National Liberation Army on the continued accusation of criminality made against the I.N.L.A. from a range of sources, including the British and Irish Governments the IMC, [i] <#_edn1> the PSNI and the Gardai, the Media and Provisional Sinn Fein. A series of briefing against the Irish National Liberation Army have included lies distortions and inaccuracies.

Drugs Trade

The Irish National Liberation Army has no involvement in the drug trades. We have taken action against those who use the name of the INLA as a cover for their own rotten drug dealing and will do so in the future if necessary.

In the North West of Ireland two individuals who had never any connection with our movement were warned to desist from their activities and were subsequently dealt with. One had set up a so called “I.N.L.A. gang” as a cover for drug dealing and intimidation and recruited a number of impressionable young people. The other had used the name “Irish National Liberation Army” in connection with his drug dealing activities and extorted money from a number of families in the Limavady area.

In a number of areas we have, in conjunction with local communities, closed down a number of drug gangs preying on working class communities. We don’t turn a blind eye to drug dealing in areas in return for a percentage cut, for to do so would be to condone the drugs trade.

But we recognise that the drug problem is a complex issue and that it requires a multi agency approach in order to hold that problem at bay. The z Irish National Liberation Army recognise that it cannot solve the drug problem. That can only be done by a united community response against the dealers. However the use by British state agencies of those same drug dealers as informers, touts and provocateurs against republicanism means that the drug culture will continue to poison working class communities.

Where evidence is given to us of serious accusations against our members we investigate. If our membership deviates from our policy they are dealt with. But it is worth pointing out that no past or current member has been convicted for drug offences while a member of the movement.

However we do take accusations seriously and as a result of evidence presented to us are currently investigating activities of people associated with us in a major Irish city. As a result pending the outcome of those enquires we have stood down a number of people.

Contract Killing
It has also been alleged by those closely associated with provisional Sinn Fein that the Irish National Liberation Army and indeed a prominent member of the IRSP and a former long tern political prisoner, was involved in a contract killing in the North West against a sheep farmer. We utterly refute this accusation. Indeed we go so far as to say they who made the accusations should look closer to home.

Tiger kidnappings.

Accusations have been made that the Irish National Liberation Army have been involved in a series of so-called Tiger Kidnappings in North Belfast. We are aware that there are a number of criminal gangs have been involved in these. Those gangs contain individuals who a number of years ago were dismissed from the movement with ignominy. The Irish National Liberation Army had no hand or part in those kidnappings. We have warned those involved to desist from their activities

So-called “Dissident” Activity.

We also note that in these comments and briefings we are referred to as “dissidents”. In so far as we disagree with the current political set up and the continued existence of a British administration based on Stormont, yes we do dissent. No republican can do other. We have always rejected the Good Friday Agreement but we have only encouraged political opposition to it.

We are not and will not be, in any military alliance with other armed republican organisations.

We strictly adhere to the position as outlined in our 1998 ceasefire statement.
“-the conditions for armed struggle do not exist”—-----“It is now time to silence the guns and allow the working classes the time and opportunity to advance their demands and their needs. See (endnote 1)
Since 1998 we have encouraged people to engage in political as opposed to military activity. In the current political circumstances we believe that is the only viable option. That is one of the reasons we have encourage Republican Socialists to engage with other republicans in broad front groups such as the Forum for Republican Unity to pose Republican Alternatives to the current political set up.
We utterly reject the stream of erroneous reports from the IMC (see end note ii) a body that believes Ardoyne is in West Belfast. (Page 5 IMC Report 20). The continued regurgitation of gossip, speculation, half-truths and British propaganda emanating from that body is worthy of the gutter press. For the record the Irish National Liberation Army is not in the process of targeting, encouraging young people to engage in inter community conflict or drug dealing.
On the contrary we have totally endorsed the activities of our ex-prisoners through Teach Na Failte to lessen sectarian tensions at interfaces to support cross community work with young people and to encourage working class solidarity. Our ex-prisoners are active in reaching out to all working class communities. A range of community groups, voluntary organizations and Government agencies can confirm this.( Not that we expect the IMC to actually investigate this.)

The Irish National Liberation Army

Finally the leadership of the Irish re-affirms its total commitment to the 1998 ceasefire. Any actions we take or have taken are to defend the integrity of our movement, protect our membership and ensure that vulnerable working class communities have some defence against sectarian attacks. We pose no threat to loyalist or unionist working class communities.

End statement

End Notes
[1][1] Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) "Ceasefire Declaration", issued on Saturday 22 August 1998
"We have accepted the advice and analysis of the Irish Republican Socialist Party that the conditions for armed struggle do not exist. The Irish National Liberation Army has now shifted from the position of defence and retaliation to the position of complete ceasefire. We have instructed all our units to desist from offensive actions from noon today. The Irish National Liberation Army is now on ceasefire. We take this historic opportunity to pay tribute to our fallen comrades who gave their lives in the struggle. To their families we share their pride and sorrow.We wish to praise first the courage, loyalty and commitment of our volunteers. For nearly 25 years they have been in the forefront of the anti-imperialist struggle and have upheld the principles of republican socialism. In armed combat, in prison protest on the blanket in hunger strikes, in prison escapes, on picket lines and in mass demonstrations, they have at all times upheld the right of the whole of the Irish people for self-determination. To the wider public who through support and solidarity in such committees as the Relatives Action Committees, the National H-Block and Armagh Committees, Relatives for Justice and other solidarity committees around the world, we thank them for the support they gave to our prisoners.
To those prisoners in gaol, in Portlaoise and Long Kesh we offer our heartfelt thanks for their loyalty and steadfastness throughout the years. Though scorned, slandered and derided, marginalised and demonised, they stuck by the principles of republican socialism. We salute their courage. We also acknowledge and praise the role played by the families and friends and supporters of our members. Through no fault of their own they have had to suffer much over the years. We applaud them and fervently wish they never have to endure such suffering again.
In calling this cessation we recognise that the political situation has changed since the formation of the INLA. We recognise that armed struggle can never be the only option for revolutionaries. In the new conditions prevailing it is only right to respond to the new conditions. Those conditions demand a ceasefire.Although we, for our part believe that the Good Friday Agreement was not worth the sacrifices of the past 30 years and are still politically opposed to it, the people of the island of Ireland have spoken clearly as to their wishes.
The working classes have borne the brunt of the consequences of the war for the past three decades. They have also suffered repression, social deprivation, unemployment and poverty. We recognise their desire for a cessation of violence expressed through the referendum and for a peaceful future.The onus is now on all political parties, governments and observers to ensure that the democratic wishes of the Irish people are upheld. This includes all armed groups. Therefore we have taken this ceasefire decision to take account of the people's desires.
Now we turn to the consequences of our part in the war. We acknowledge and admit faults and grievous errors in our prosecution of the war. Innocent people were killed and injured and at times our actions as a liberation army fell far short of what they should have been.For this we as republicans, as socialists and as revolutionaries do offer a sincere, heartfelt and genuine apology. It was never our intention, desire or wish to become embroiled in sectarian or internecine warfare. We accept responsibility for our part in actions, which hindered the struggle. Those actions should never have happened.
We have, however, nothing to apologise for in taking the war to the British and their loyalist henchmen. Those who preyed on the blood of nationalists paid a heavy price. However, the will of the Irish people is clear. It is now time to silence the guns and allow the working classes the time and opportunity to advance their demands and their needs.In the new conditions prevailing we will support the politics of the IRSP who have our full confidence and support in the words of our founder Seamus Costello, when speaking about his class, the Irish working class, "We are nothing and we shall be everything"

[1] Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)

2.17 In our Eighteenth Report we said that INLA had been less active in the six months then under review than it had been in the previous six months, save for serious crime. We concluded that it was serious crime which constituted its main common purpose. Nevertheless, in common with other dissident republican groups, it undertook targeting for the purpose of possible attacks and we believed it retained a desire to mount attacks. Overall we believed that despite its recent low level of activity it remained a threat and had the capacity for extreme violence.
2.18 In the six months under review members of INLA were, we believe, responsible for the one paramilitary murder which was committed in Derry in June. The victim was apparently going to the aid of a man who might have been the intended target of the assailants. The organisation continued to plan and to perpetrate a number of serious crimes, including drug dealing, extortion, robbery and offences against the revenue such as fuel laundering and smuggling. It also targeted individuals. We think it also may have sought to exploit tension at community interfaces, for example by inciting young people to engage in public disorder or through shows of strength. ----

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