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.”