17 November 2006

INLA not targeting SF leadership - insists IRSP

Derry Journal

16 November 2006

THE INLA is NOT targeting prominent Sinn Fein leaders, the political party linked to the paramilitary group has revealed.
Earlier this week, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness told the 'Journal' that the party was convinced of an "active threat" to members of its leadership.
The Mid-Ulster MP revealed that there had been growing concerns for some time of a "coming together between a tiny number of disaffected former IRA people and elements of various micro groups, including some members of the INLA."
Indeed, PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde, speaking during a visit to Derry yesterday, said police were treating the reported threats as "very real".
However, Willie Gallagher, a leading member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) - which has links to the INLA - accused Mr. McGuinness of "talking absolute rubbish."
He told the 'Journal' this week: "These ridiculous claims are a blatant attempt to negate any debate within the anti-PSNI republican camp.
"The very fact that both Peter Hain and Hugh Orde have said that they are also aware of these claims suggests this is a co-ordinated spin exercise by both the leadership of Sinn Fein and their British masters."
Mr. Gallagher added: "I am one of the individuals who has attended every one of these so-called 'coming togethers' that Martin McGuinness has referred to and I can assure him that nothing of the sort that he has alluded to was discussed.
"In fact, to be quite frank, if talk like that had come up, we would not have been there."
Mr. Gallagher branded Mr. McGuinness' remarks as "part of the latest strategy to negate any dissenting voices within republicanism.

"However, he needs to realise that we won't be deflected from our opposition to acceptance of a corrupt British police force."

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