30th anniversary of INLA man’s death to be marked

An INLA guard of honour flanks the funeral cortege of Neil McMonagle in February 1983.
An INLA guard of honour flanks the funeral cortege of Neil McMonagle in February 1983.

The IRSP will be holding a march tomorrow to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Derry INLA man Neil McMonagle who was shot dead by the SAS in 1983.

The march will assemble at the Carnhill Resource Centre at 1.30pm and make its way to the Neil McMonagle memorial at Leafair Park, close to the spot where he was killed, and wreaths will be laid.

The 23 year-old INLA member was killed by an undercover British soldier in Leafair Park on the evening of February 2, 1983. He was unarmed at the time he was shot. The Leafair man was also a member of the IRSP.

At the time of the shooting he had been on the run because of his INLA activities and had been baby-sitting in a nearby house.

Noticing security force activity in the area, he had gone to check on an arms dump when an undercover British soldier, believed to have been a member of the elite SAS regiment, opened fire, killing him.

Following the fatal shooting, the Derry INLA said; “The Derry Brigade of the INLA deeply mourn the assassination of our comrade Neil McMonagle by the SAS on Wednesday.

“He was a fearless soldier who will not go unforgotten.

“His powers of leadership and his untiring devotion to the cause of republican socialism made him a prime target for the emissaries of British imperialism who in the end took his young life.”

He had been regarded as a leading figure in the republican socialist movement at the time of his death and two years previously had read an INLA statement at the funeral of hunger stiker Patsy O’Hara.

A spokesperson for the IRSP said the 23 year-old was a “dedicated political activist”.

“It was not unknown for Neil to stop local coal lorries driving through Shantallow, ask the driver for a few bags, and give it to pensioners who had none in order to heat their homes during the winter.

“These type of actions were typical of Neil and his political outlook which was firmly grounded in the issues of the working class people of the area.

“This year marks thirty years since a foreign occupying army took Neil’s young life.

“We invite you to join with us on Saturday 26th January to remember a remarkable young man who lost his life in the selfless defence of this community.”