Also in The Irish News, the family of George McBrearty, [who] died when he was involved in a shoot-out with soldiers, said they were “deeply disturbed” by Sinn Fein plans to endorse the PSNI. “We believe that if Sinn Fein support the RUC/PSNI, then not only do the ideals of our volunteers remain unfulfilled, they will be reversed. Despite their assurances that the families of dead volunteers would be consulted, we find that this ‘consultation’ on policing is meaningless if you don’t adhere to the leadership-driven strategy.”
Mother of INLA hunger striker to stand if elections go ahead
By Connla Young
The mother of INLA hunger striker Patsy O’Hara said she will stand as an independent candidate if assembly elections go ahead later this year.
Peggy O’Hara said she is opposed to Sinn Fein’s policing strategy and confirmed she is to stand on an anti-PSNI ticket in Foyle if assembly elections planned for March get the green light.
The 76-year-old grandmother’s announcement came just hours after Sinn Fein confirmed the party will hold a special ard fheis on policing on January 28.
Mrs O’Hara said she decided to put her name forward in memory of her son Patsy, who died after 61 days on hunger strike in May 1981.
“Patsy would have been against this,” she said.
“I was there for years and years when Patsy got lifted and was taken out in his bare feet by the police.
“A lot of people, including young people, have the same opinion as me.
“No-one has come to me and asked me what I think of the policing debate.
“I am standing in memory of Patsy if the elections take place.”
Meanwhile, Socialist Environmental Alliance member Eamonn McCann said he has no intention of withdrawing from any future assembly race.
Reports had indicated that anti-PSNI republicans were set to rally around the Derry campaigner if the March elections go ahead.
Any such support is now expected to shift to Mrs O’Hara.
“We will be putting most of our emphasis on water charges and the non-payment campaign,” Mr McCann said.
Plans ‘disturb’ family of IRA man
By Claire Simpson
The family of an IRA man killed by undercover British soldiers in Derry in 1981 have voiced opposition to moves to support the PSNI.
George McBrearty, a married father-of-three from the city, died aged 23 when he was involved in a shoot-out with soldiers from the 14th Intelligence Company.
In a letter to The Irish News the mother, sisters and brothers of Mr McBrearty said they were “deeply disturbed” by Sinn Fein plans to endorse the PSNI.
“We believe that if Sinn Fein support the RUC/PSNI, then not only do the ideals of our volunteers remain unfulfilled, they will be reversed,” their letter states.
“Despite their assurances that the families of dead volunteers would be consulted, we find that this ‘consultation’ on policing is meaningless if you don’t adhere to the leadership-driven strategy.
“Indeed, it is now clear that far from conducting meaningful consultations, the Sinn Fein leadership has been systematically dishonest with the republican base.”
In the letter, Mr McBrearty’s family make an appeal to republicans to “carefully consider the implications for republicanism of supporting a political party that is now attempting to legitimise the continuation of British rule in Ireland, something that we as a family believe our son and brother would never have given his life for”.
Yesterday Sinn Fein’s aim of persuading grass-roots republicans to support the PSNI were dealt another blow when a former election agent said he intended to stand as an independent republican candidate in the planned March assembly elections.
Paul McGlinchey, a brother of murdered INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey, said Sinn Fein’s stance on policing was “a step too far”.
He said republicans who opposed Sinn Fein’s policy intended to put forward candidates in at least 13 constituencies.
Mr McGlinchey, who left Sinn Fein last month, was released from Long Kesh in 1985 after almost 10 years.
Last night a founding member of the Provisional IRA denied rumours that he would stand as one of the candidates.
John Kelly confirmed he would not stand but said he had been approached.
Republican Sinn Fein president Ruairi O Bradaigh condemned Gerry Adams’s party yesterday when he spoke at a commemoration to remember the IRA volunteer Fergal O’Hanlon.