Strabane Day of reflection on prison struggle

Strabane IRSP hosted a day of reflection and discussion based around the struggle for political status.

Saturday 15th October

Comrade Willie Gallagher of the IRSP opened the days discussions with a talk on how the INLA in the cages were formed after the split from the Officials in 74 and their struggle for recognition within the camp. He also talked about how the INLA in the camp constructed the tunnel that enabled the mass escape in May 1976.

Comrade Tony OHara, brother of INLA hunger striker Patsy OHara, gave a very emotional talk on the situation from late 1976 and his experiences on the blanket and during the hunger strike. And how the INLA POWs fought daily battles with prison staff and the Provisionals for recognition and respect.

Then comrade Willie Gallagher spoke on the struggles facing contemporary Republicans in Maghaberry. And explained the dangers of the British not immediately implementing the August Agreement in full. He also explained how the British are exploiting the divisions within Maghaberry and using the discontent to stall the implementation of the August Agreement. Comrade Gallagher also spoke of the dangers of backing Republican prisoners into a corner, how the British have learned nothing from past prison struggles, and where this could end up in the future.

Martin McMonagle, Gina McElroy and Paul Gallagher then gave a talk on how Republican Socialism is becoming more relevant to the everyday lives of the working class and gave a report on the building of the IRSP across the entire island.