Dissident republicans deny SF threat claims

A couple of the Sunday papers picked up on the denials of threats to the SF leadership – threats initially identified by Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams, and latterly repeated by Martin McGuinness. The Sunday Times also reported former INLA prisoner Willie Gallagher’s comments on the meetings various dissident republican groups have been holding and his accusation that Sinn Féin was attempting to divert attention from their internal problems on policing – “It is designed to get the troops to rally round the leadership during this ‘great time of danger’ and stifle political criticism.”From the Sunday Times

Willie Gallagher, a former INLA prisoner who has been in talks with other republican groups, described their claims as “rubbish”. He said: “I believe that someone in Sinn Fein has concocted this to divert people away from the party’s internal problems with the PSNI. It is designed to get the troops to rally round the leadership during this ‘great time of danger’ and stifle political criticism.”

And on the meetings of the dissident republican groups

Gallagher believes that Adams and McGuinness are referring to a programme of meetings which had involved Real IRA supporters, members of Sinn Fein and members of the IRSP, the political wing of the INLA. He said that a larger and more public meeting was planned to be held before Christmas.

The former INLA prisoner accused the Sinn Fein leaders of trying to “negate and stifle any type of debate by vilifying us as collaborators and assassins so that nobody will have anything to do with us”.

Gallagher added: “I have attended every meeting and there has been no discussion of any kind of military actions or campaign. What we have discussed is the political capitulation of Sinn Fein.

“There is not a chance in the world of the INLA ceasefire being broken. I do not see any role for armed struggle at the present time and we are absolutely opposed to anyone from Sinn Fein being killed.”

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  • Henry94

    That is good news on the INLA ceasefire but all the micro-groups do not share that position but we can assume they respect it and therefore if they do plan to shoot Sinn Fein leaders they wouldn’t tell the INLA.

    Why are the INLA getting involved with the rira? They must know they don’t share their Marxist-Leninist position and are simply brit haters for who the armed struggle is the end and not the means.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Don’t try to deny that the provo’s were any different! They were, and are, Brit haters, and even after being defeated they still have their own Marxist-Leninist viewpoint, though they won’t display that too much in the USA!

  • Henry94


    You are entitled to your opinions but the IRSP are Marxist-Leninist by their own definition. I was using the term as a specific political position whereas you seem to consider it a term of abuse or a synonym for socialism. We are therefore talking about different things.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I was quite cynical about the threats, but then Hugh Orde suggested that they were real and very serious.

  • These are dark days indeed. The services of Wille Gallagher are needed to try and bridge the gap.

    The whole treatment of dissident Republican groups needs to be addressed, there needs to be some bridge building, and an olive branch offered by Sinn Fein.

    At this crucial time Sinn Fein cannot expect to just bulldoze their way over the whole Republican movement.

    If dissident Republicans can be coaxed in from the cold politically, then there is the strong possibility this peace process can reach a conclusion, that welcomes protest, without the armed element.

    Any personal vendetta’s against the leadership of Sinn Fein should not be taken as a Republican Group response.

    Remember Martin McGuinness remarking that Martin Ingram was trying to get him killed, well someone may have taken exception to the spy allegations, believing them true, and will try to hide behind the cloak of Dissident Republican Groups.

    I must say, however, any attempt now that it is public knowledge will be a foolhardy mission, ending in capture, or worse.

  • mandy rice davis

    He would say that, wouldn’t he?

  • mcgrath

    He would say that, wouldn’t he?

    Posted by mandy rice davis on Nov 20, 2006 @ 03:12 AM

    Who would?

  • deadmanonleave

    In response to the post asking what the INLA/IRSP are doing getting involved with RIRA and CIRA people (as well as disaffected SF’ers) I think that it’s best understood as an attempt to reach out to those who share some, if not all of the former’s aims ie British withdrawal and social change. Willie Gallagher and the IRSP have been clear that it’s about trying to unite anti-GFA republicans behind a political objective. With the INLA ceasfire holding since 1998, and the armed campaigns of the CIRA and RIRA achieving nothing then my hope would be that those who support those organisations might be won to pursuing their aims politically rather than militarily. Even if one’s not optimistic about that you can’t knock Willie and others for trying.

  • Henry94


    If that’s what it is then good luck to them. A republican opposition to Sinn Fein would be a legitimate even useful development. But violence must be rejected as a way forward.

  • da.

    This could be the leadership of sinn fein putting out false propaganda into the media as a way of easing their own plight. Make it look like the dissidents are making things harder for them re policing, show how they only want violence as a way forward etc etc. The only people who benefit from this threat are the sinn fein leadership.

    Not so long ago gerry kelly was on tv telling us all how these guys were nothing – he dismissed them out of hand. Whats happened in the mean time? Have they suddenly grown into a bigger threat? No. IMHO. BUT the leadership in sinn fein need to make them look like the bad guys while they don their white hats.

    There is hardly a threat coming from the british. they are working along there nicely. Hand in glove. If the dissidents had been a threat then wouldn’t they have done something to the SF leadership by now. Perhaps over de-commissioning?

    The only people who benefit from this threat are the leadership of SF. NO one else. This is their propaganda.

  • seabhac siúlach

    There is an interesting piece on this topic by Anthony McIntyre in The Blanket;

    As for the threat to Adams et al., in my opinion, it is clearly a piece of political theatre to rally the jittery, nervous ranks around the leadership…a common threat is always a unifying thing…
    It is also a useful means of getting disaffected supporters to consider the prospects of life without the guiding hand of the Dear Leader Adams…

    “In response to the post asking what the INLA/IRSP are doing getting involved with RIRA and CIRA people…,etc.”

    It is clear from statements in the piece by Henry McDonald (the first link) in the Guardian that the CIRA are not involved with any of these other groups, i.e., ‘Meanwhile the Continuity IRA, whose representatives never attended any of the six meetings held since October, said they posed no threat to Sinn Fein’s high command.”

    But he said the Sinn Fein leadership ‘need to start looking closer to home’ regarding the threats. CIRA also stressed that there had been no links forged between the organisation and any of the other dissident republican groups.”

    It is interesting that they suggest that the threat to Adams et al. (if real) is coming from diaffected members of PIRA, not from dissidents…

  • veddy interresting

    Very interesting piece indeed, Seabhac Siúlach (I presume you refer to http://lark.phoblacht.net/AM3191106g.html, the interviews with all the republicans). I thought the point about Hugh Orde and his track record regarding threats to republicans was well made.

  • DMcM

    Sinn Fein have to go with policing, they could have moved on this a long time ago.
    The SDLP got harrassed alot when they moved on policing. Sinn Fein may lose support from some of the more hard liners but I think this would be insignificant as most Sinn Fein supporters are loyal to their leadership.
    They are not the first party to receive death threats on policing. if there are threats why dont they put up some anti agreement candidates?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    It is designed to get the troops to rally round the leadership during this ‘great time of danger’ and stifle political criticism.”

    For once I agree with a scumbag…couldn’t have put it better myself Gallagher, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  • mmm

    Anthony McIntyre’s piece was interesting. All those people denying armed dissidents are targetting members of SF and each and every one of them claims they are not part of any armed group or supportive of them.

    Are they mind readers? Taking a guess? Close to the thinking of armed groups (and included on their targetting discussions)? Or option D?

  • deadmanonleave

    mmm…..McGuinness and Adams, as well as the mouthpiece Gibney are the only people claiming there’s a threat. The fact that the only knowledge that state forces have is what SF have told them rather gives the lie to the claims.

    The only armed group named was the INLA, who’ve been on ‘tactical cessation’ or ceasefire since 1998 (the statement from the group was read out by Willie Gallagher at the time) and it’s a fair bet that Gallagher is close to the thinking of the INLA leadership. The Irps have made huge efforts to engage with other republican traditions, as well as working class Protestants, in recent years, and the meetings around opposition to the GFA were part of that and the fact that SF have attacked them for that says way more about the SF leadership’s insecurity than about the groups who see a different path forward.

    This statement on the IRSP’s site puts it in far more detail than I can.

    Statement on behalf of the Irish Republican Socialist Party by James Bradley.

    Speaking at the Mickey Devine commemoration March in Derry in August IRSP members Eddie Mc Garrigle said,

    “Let us as republicans learn to treat each other with respect, we should debate with each other and engage each other in a genuine spirit of comradeship. Whilst recognising the absolute need to engage with the unionist tradition we should be mindful that all of us need to actively begin a process of healing the relationship between the various republican traditions. We should not let our egos or our pride stand in our way. In my opinion we need to put out the hand of friendship to each other; we need to accept and welcome the diversity of opinion within republicanism. It is time to heal and to move on.”

    Those sentiments were strongly applauded by the large crowd present including Martin McGuinness MP. In the spirit of those sentiments the Ard-Comhairle of the IRSP nominated a number of comrades to attend a series of meeting with other Republicans. Five such meeting took place over the months from September until now. Present at those meetings were Republicans from differing backgrounds including the 32 Sovereignty Movement, Sinn Fein, former members of Sinn Fein and the IRSP, the IRSP and various non-aligned republicans. There were no republicans there from the Republican Sinn Fein tradition.

    Throughout those meetings it was made clear that the meetings were not anti-Sinn Fein meetings but instead were to explore issues that concerned many republicans including the key issue of policing. At those meetings Comrade Willie Gallagher IRSP reiterated the IRSP position that there was no basis for armed struggle and that the only way forward was by political action. No arguments were advanced against that position at the meetings.

    So the IRSP are both saddened and shocked by the recent unsubstantiated comments from both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness, and backed up by newspaper columnist Jim Gibney that there was a plot to kill leading Sinn Fein members. The only source for such a plot comes from within Sinn Fein itself.

    Is this an effort by the Sinn Fein leadership to buy more time for their attempt to win over their own members who have doubts about the whole issue of policing? Rumors of plots to kill their leadership seem designed to cement the membership in behind that leadership. At the same time there is a mix to somehow imply that “some members of the INLA” as opposed to other members of the INLA are involved in this spurious plot.
    The IRSP has said consistently and clearly for the past years there is no basis for a resumption of armed struggle at this time. That position has been endorsed repeatedly by the INLA. All of the Republican Socialist Movement is united behind that position. However in accordance with our policy as expressed by Eddie McGarrigle in August we have engaged in discussions with all other republicans, including Sinn Fein members and will continue to so engage.

    On the vexed question of policing in nationalist areas there is no serious public debate-taking place. Where are the public meetings? Where is the open debate in Sinn Fein? It is all held in-house. Surely the major Nationalist Party in the North has a duty to let the nationalist public know the arguments for and against signing up to Policing?

    Headline grabbing news in an attempt to divert from their own difficulties is an obvious New Labour tactic well learned by Sinn Fein. It bears a striking similarity to the dodgy dossiers on weapons of mass destruction dreamt up by new Labour’s spin-doctors. Going down that road does the Sinn Fein leadership no credit.

    They should instead of spinning falsehoods and lies about other republicans begin a series of public meetings within nationalist areas to genuinely explore what the wider nationalist working class really think on the whole issue of policing. What are they afraid of? The voice of the people?

    On behalf of the Ard –Comhairle , Irish Republican Socialist Party