“Saoirse go deo.” INLA volunteer Kevin Lynch went on hunger strike 40 years ago yesterday, May 23rd, 1981. He would die 71 days later, on August 1st. His funeral is depicted above, part of a new IRSP/IRSM board commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes. The board is flanked by two other IRSP boards, one against the PSNI (“96% of Divis residents do not support the PSNI – defund, disarm, disband”) and one dedicated to founder Seamus Costello (“He was the only one who truly understood what James Connolly meant when he spoke of his vision of the freedom of the Irish people.” – Nora Connolly at Costello’s funeral)
“The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality” – Che Guevara Lynch. The INLA’s Kevin Lynch died in the second hunger strike after 71 days. He is buried in Dungiven, where this memorial sits on the main road between Derry and Maghera.
“I ndíl chuimhne ar Óglach Kevin Lynch a fuair bás ar stailc ocrais ar son saoirse, 1ú Lúnasa 1981 [who died on a hunger strike for freedom, 1st August 1981]. Erected by the Irish Republican Socialist Ex-Prisoners Memorial Committee.”
This is a new INLA board to deceased volunteers Danny Loughran and Matt McLarnan, Paul (“Bonanza”) McCann, Martin McElkerney, and Gino Gallagher. The new addition here is Martin McElkerney, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in March last year (2019) (Guardian). Shots were fired over McElkerney’s coffin (tw). He was released under the terms of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement after 12 years for his part in a booby-trap bombing of two British soldiers, one of whom died, in which two children also died.
“In memory of Vol Colm McNutt Derry Brigade INLA. On 12th December 1977 18 years old Colm McNutt was killed by an undercover British Army unit in William Street. In lived in Balbane Pass and was a popular young lad around the Creggan estate. He witnessed occupation and injustice and as a result joined the resistance movement, paying ultimately with his young life.” This large board was launched in December 2017 on the fortieth anniversary of McNutt’s death.
Republican prisoner Tony Taylor was released yesterday (November 28th) after 933 days in prison (BBC-NI | BelTel); for Taylor’s history in and out of prison, see Free Tony Taylor. As a result, two of the boards at the junction of William Street and Chamberlain Street will be out of date (see the wide shot, below).
In the image above, Taylor’s case is joined by that of Luke O’Neill. O’Neill is charged with attempting to kill police officers and fears for his safety in a mixed unit of Maghaberry, separated from republican prisoners in Roe House (Bel Tel).
The other board (second image, below) is for Saoradh’s youth organisation, Éistigí. The Facebook page does not appear to be publicly visible; there is a page for Junior McDaid House in which both Saoradh (tw) and Éistigí have offices.
The IRSP last month (September, 2018) launched a campaign on Facebook, youtube, and twitter to poll various districts on the question of a border poll. “Unity referendum now! British occupation has been a disaster for the people of Ireland. A united Ireland is the way forward for all the people of Ireland.” The one above is on the fence around the North Queen Street play park; the one below (“88% of Divis people”) is below Divis tower.
“In memory of our fallen INLA volunteers, upper Springfield area: Hugh Ferguson, Ronnie Bunting, Noel Little, Hugh O’Neill, Micky Kearney, John McColgan, Paddy “Paddybo” Campbell. Comrades: Barry “Baz” McMullan, Sean “Shanto” fleming, Harry O’Hara, Paul Collins, Bernado Brownlee, Emmanuel Kelly, Michael Conlon, Billy Lynch, James “Harpo” Murray, John Kennaway. Saoirse go deo [freedom forever].” Ferguson was the first member of the INLA to die, in 1975 in the feud with the OIRA. Bunting and Little/Lyttle (both Protestants) were shot dead in 1980 in Bunting’s Andersonstown home by masked gunmen from the UDA or SAS with RUC complicity.
The so-called International Wall on Divis Street draws coach-loads of tourists every day (“tens of thousands” according to Sinn Féin’s Fra McCann). A new IRSP board affixed to the top of the ‘magic lantern’ mural (see Spreading The Word) warns visitors to take precautions. “Community notice: thieves are operating in this area. Please make sure your valuables are secure and out of sight. Respect our community and visitors. Cease this activity!” Here are articles about the Divis Hoods Liberation Army (DHLA) from 2017 and 2016.
Seamus Costello fought for the IRA during the Border Campaign and was interned in the Curragh for two years. He stayed with the Officials during the split, but was driven out in 1974 and formed the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and the INLA. He was shot in 1977. (WP)