On behalf of the IRSP I would like to respond to Donncha MacNiallais’s letter ”Hunger strike story incredible” (Friday, 5th June) in which he questioned the motives of those who participated and contributed to the Gasyard debate.
If Donnacha had have taken the time to attend the debate those motives would have been very clear but given that he didn’t, I will clear up any queries he may have in relation to the IRSP’s contribution.
The IRSP got involved in this controversy on behalf of the relatives of the INLA hunger strikers who asked us in early 2006, just over a year after the controversial claims (of a settlement offer by the British Government] were made by Richard O’Rawe, to investigate the allegations made. At first the IRSP did not believe Richard’s claims and we told the families this after talking to senior IRSP/INLA personnel from 1981 who, just like you, Donnacha, were unaware of the ‘Mountain Climber’ initiative. That all changed in June 2006 when the IRSP were presented with compelling evidence that supported O’Rawe’s claims.
Since then even more compelling evidence has been uncovered which has completely vindicated Richard O’Rawe. It is most unfortunate that SF representatives refused to attend the debate and address the evidence produced and answer some questions that some of the families who attended wanted answered.
Michael Og Devine has asked a number of questions of SF in relation to this controversy through this newspaper and others and has been met with silence. Both the Devine and O’ Hara families have asked the IRSP to represent them in their quest for the truth and we make no apologies for doing so.
You are quite right when you say that all this has caused much pain to the families. So too have the untruths from SF which we find totally obnoxious.
I hope this clears up your question on the motivation of the IRSP, chara.