How To Explain That INLA Turnout At Peggy O’Hara’s Funeral……

Ed Moloney on the INLA display at the funeral of Peggy O'Hara. Ed Moloney blogs @ The Broken Elbow.

I got a puzzled email in the last few days from one reader asking why so many INLA members turned out for Peggy O’Hara’s funeral in Derry when the INLA is on ceasefire and dissident, anti-process activity has almost ceased.

As you can see from the photos below the INLA turnout was impressive, as big or perhaps bigger than the group could muster when the bullets were flying:
INLA on the march
INLA pay tribute

I think the answer is quite simple. One word: ceasefire.

The experience of republican groups during the Troubles was that when ceasefires were called, as they were for the Officials in 1972 and for the Provos between 1975-76, 1994-1996 and 1997 onwards, membership surged but as soon as it seemed that life might get hairy again, it dwindled like air escaping from a balloon – as it did for the Officials during several inter-republican feuds in the Seventies and the Provos in 1977 and 1997.

There was even a name for such people: ceasefire soldiers.

I suspect the same thing has happened with the INLA. Now that there is next to no risk attached to being a member, and while being one of the lads still carries some clout in the communities, the INLA has probably experienced a upsurge in recruitment. Expect that to reverse if the INLA resumes hostilities.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

9 comments to ''How To Explain That INLA Turnout At Peggy O’Hara’s Funeral……"

  1. How many of those in berets and masks at Peggy O'Hara's funeral are actual members of the INLA? May someone be a part of an INLA honor guard without being a full-fledged, oath-given member of the organisation? I'm assuming that the INLA remains a proscribed organisation whose official members face the possibility of arrest. Feedback on this appreciated, just curious.

    Republican funerals have such symbolic potency. As reminders of martyrdom, undying defiance, shared sacrifice, and of course natural grief, their continuation for the forseeable future seems certain. In some ways these funerals are like counterweights to Orange marches: both are shows of solidarity but with the funerals rooted in pathos and the Orange marches triumphal bravado. Clearly the INLA can still make that time-honored paradoxical show of strength through death. The INLA may still exist - it seems - but the Planet of the Erps is long gone. Rest in eternal peace, if possible, Divis Flats.

  2. Their politcal wing released a document last December which would render the INLA existence (of that scale) surplus to requirements. If they arent engaged with the British, this can only mean bad things for their community im afraid ,the INLA guns must be pointed at them.

  3. The INLA got themselves lumped alongside PIRA in the surrender process, the outcome was quisling $inn £eind playing the role of poacher turned gamekeeper Vol Joe O Connor,s murder being just one example ,could this display be a; trying to distance themselves from that ridiculous decision, b;as Daithi D said a militant snub to the political wing, no matter what Seamus Costello warned that any organisation which failed to look after its members was doomed to fail , the betrayal of good brave men who gave their lives on hungerstrike some of whom were members of the INLA let die as per Richard O Rawe,s assertions and accepted by the majority of republican,s as truthful,this has never been adequatley dealth could a cynic say it was an apology to both Peggy and Patsy ..

  4. As the former IRA commander criticised the paramilitary displays of today, he also ruled out Sinn Fein taking seats at Westminster - even to prop up a future left wing Labour government which needed support.......
    Martin McGuinness: INLA owed Peggy O'Hara more respect than shots fired over her coffin

  5. The INLA are on ceasefire in the sense that they no longer threaten violence against British security forces. They are however still implicated in extortion, intimidation and violence against members of the community that they claim to champion.
    As the PSNI has shown little urgency in investigating such crimes, Ed Moloney is probably correct to suggest that life probably isn't too hairy for the INLA at present

  6. Joe shootem Mulhern was a guard of honour at Frankie Mulhern,s funeral full uniform, yet he was not a member of PIRA.

  7. Some of these comments are a dispicable and and bring shame on those that make them.
    Some so called Republicans can fight any enemy except the real one.
    They shame this blog.
    James Marron.

  8. Some of these comments are a dispicable and and bring shame on those that make them.
    Some so called Republicans can fight any enemy except the real one.
    They shame this blog.
    James Marron.

  9. It may be that the ranks of the INLA would contract, if active hostilities made wearing the uniform more of a threat, but what is important is that the Republican Socialist Movement has recognized the importance of maintaining the ranks of its military organisation and the reality that a 32-county workers' republic cannot be achieved without recourse to armed struggle.

    It is true that it is far easier being an Irps these days, whether in the armed or political wing of the movement, and that this has paved the way for tremendous growth in both arenas, but there is no shame in that. Those who may fall away under a greater threat from the state and loyalist paramilitaries can and will be judged by their actions when they occur--there is no basis for making judgments about these revolutionary activists in advance of such decisions being made. Peter Urban


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