Hunger striker's mother 'fully behind' INLA move

The mother of a Derry man who died on hunger strike says she fully supports the INLA's move away from violence.

Peggy O'Hara, whose son Patsy, an INLA volunteer, died on hunger strike in Long Kesh in 1981, says she is happy with the move which was announced at the weekend.

"I am happy with the announcement and happy that the political stance of the movement has not changed," she told the 'Journal' last night.

"The main thing for me is that they still remain implacably opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the notion of a British police force in Ireland.

"I understand that it is only the tactics that have changed and that the political objectives remain the same as they were in 1981.

"I give my full support to the republican socialist movement," she added.

Mrs O'Hara has a long connection with the republican socialist movement and stood as an independent republican candidate in the Assembly elections in 2007 on an anti-PSNI ticket.

She received more than 1,700 first preference votes but was not elected.

Meanwhile, IRSP ard comhairle member Martin McMonagle says the families of INLA members who died during the Troubles were consulted before Sunday's announcement.

"A series of talks have been going on for the last few years," he said. "Families were happy in 1998 when the ceasefire was announced and that has not changed," he added.

Mr McMonagle insists the move is supported by the "vast majority" of republican socialists and ruled out any possibility of a split in the ranks of the INLA.

"If people were unhappy, this initiative would not have happened," he said. "It was important for us to keep the movement intact."