Date: Tue, 23 Dec 97 10:24:25 CST
From: Arm The Spirit <>
Subject: Irish Republican Socialist Party Ard Fheis Report
Article: 24530

IRSP Ard Fheis

By Peter Urban, North American Coordinator, Irish Republican Socialist Committees, 23 December 1997

The Irish Republican Socialist Party Ard Fheis, held on Saturday, December 6, 1997, has rejected a motion that would have called upon the Irish National Liberation Army to declare a ceasefire until the conclusion of the Stormont talks by a vote of 109 opposed and only eleven votes in favor; and unanimously approving a motion calling on the INLA to continue the policy of defense and retaliation in effect since March of 1995.

A new constitution was passed unanimously. Among key elements of the new constitution are a reorganization along types of action, with the various actions grouped within specific departments, each headed by a member of the new twelve person Ard Comhairle (national executive). All party members will now be required to be attached to a minimum of two departments, reporting to the Ard Comhairle members responsible for those departments.

The Ard Comhairle was expanded from seven to twelve members. Those elected include: Gerry Burns (Dublin), Tony O'Hara (Derry) [brother of INLA 1981 hunger strike martyr Patsy O'Hara], Linda McLaughlin (Dublin), Willie Gallagher (Strabane), Kevin McQuillan (Belfast), Gary Adams (Dundalk), Gerry Ruddy (Belfast), Fra Halligan (Belfast), Jimmy Bradley (Belfast), Paul Carson (Belfast), Paul Little (Belfast) [nephew of Noel Little, killed by the SAS with Ronnie Bunting in 1980], and Ciaran McLaughlin (Derry). The full incoming Ard Comhairle will meet and elect a five person executive committee, which should occur before the end of the month.

The Ard Fheis committed the IRSP to not only expanding with new members, but actively seeking the return of former activists. As one comrade said, The IRSP stated we have drawn a line under the past and we are taking a mature approach—the door is open to anyone who agrees with republican socialist politics.

Reaffirming its opposition to the Stormont talks which the IRSP believes are going nowhere, the Ard Fheis condemned a proposed referendum to be held separately in both the six and 26 county statelets.

A motion from the Portlaoise Republican Socialist Prisoners of War which called for the creation of an Irish claimants' union also passed unanimously. The 32 county claimant's union is envisioned as a means for unemployed workers to struggle for their own interests.

The Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America delivered action and financial reports to the Ard Fheis, as well as speaking forcefully to motions 1 and 2 (the ceasefire and defense and retaliation) and rededicating itself to the movement's support, accepting the IRSP's leadership over all sections of the movement, and receiving recognition of the IRSCNA's sole mandate to represent the IRSP in Canada and the United States.

A representative from the INLA told delegates that the INLA would consider the Ard Fheis vote on resolutions concerning the possibility of a ceasefire and maintaining the defence and retaliation position, and said that the support shown for the continuance of the latter position endorses and validates our analysis.

The INLA member went on to say that they will continue to defend the Irish working class and republican socialist organizational integrity against any attacks that might be attempted. The INLA representative ended by stating to supporters and members, that they pledged to continue the struggle by whatever means necessary until our objectives are achieved.

Peter Urban
North American Coordinator
Irish Republican Socialist Committees
2057 15th Street, Suite B
San Francisco, CA
94114 USA

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