Shooting of Neil McMonagle remembered

Peter O'Hagan of Derry IRSP speaking during the wreath laying ceremony for Neil McMonagle. (0802PG17)
Peter O'Hagan of Derry IRSP speaking during the wreath laying ceremony for Neil McMonagle. (0802PG17)

The IRSP in Derry held a wreath laying ceremony in Leafair on Saturday to mark the anniversary of INLA member Neil McMonagle, who was shot dead by the SAS 28 years ago.

The ceremony was held at the republican socialist monument in Lefair, close to where the 23 year-old was shot dead by undercover British soldiers on February 2 1983.

Speaking at the wreath laying, local IRSP activist Peter O’Hagan said that Neil McMonagle fought for the working class.

“As a revolutionary socialist Neil sided with the poor and the oppressed, he was a working class activist and soldier who was not afraid to tackle injustice and eventually he paid for his activism with his young life,” he said.

Mr O’Hagan also said that while republican socialists have changed their tactics, the objectives are the same as those Neil McMonagle held.

“We in the IRSP will continue to campaign for the destruction of the PSNI and ultimately the northern state, but we do not believe that this can occur as a result of well-intentioned armed actions. It was with this in mind that the INLA last year put aside it’s weapons,” he said.

The IRSP man said there was “no prospect” of armed actions advancing their aims at the present time. “If there had been any hope of removing the British government from Ireland through force of arms at this time then the INLA would have adopted such an approach and built on the structures that it had in place.

“In our view there is no prospect of any imminent victory and with this reality in mind the Irish Republican Socialist Movement collectively decided that a new direction was needed in the fight for freedom in Ireland,” he explained.

Amid growing speculation that the IRSP intends to filed candidates in the forthcoming elections, Mr O’Hagan said; “That new direction means that we are focusing our energies and available resources towards building a viable political alternative to the corruption in the Stormont and 26 county regimes.

“To this end we have decided to put our energies into convincing the working class of the very real benefits in fighting for socialism in as many spheres of society as we are able to exert influence.”

At the ceremony, wreaths were laid on behalf of the IRSP, INLA, republican socialist youth movement, and the McMonagle family.