DERRY, IL TRIBUTO DELL’INLA A PEGGY O’HARA
The Irish National Liberation Army paid tribute to Peggy O’Hara at her funeral in Derry this morning.
Mrs O’Hara, the mother of INLA member Patsy O’Hara – one of 10 hunger strikers who died in Long Kesh in 1981 – passed away suddenly during the week.
Forty-five masked men and women took part in her funeral procession in the Bishop and Brandywell areas of the city.
They marched behind Mrs O’Hara’s remains as they were carried in a horse-drawn carriage along the 1.2 mile route to the City Cemetery, following Requiem Mass in St Columba’s Church in the Long Tower.
The cortege, accompanied by around 100 men wearing white shirts and black ties, paused shortly (pictured) to pay silent tribute at an INLA memorial close to where the O’Hara family used to live in Bishop Street.
Earlier, six masked women and a masked man, accompanied Mrs O’Hara’s remains for several hundred yards as they were taken from her home in Templegrove (off Buncrana Road).
On arriving at the graveside, Irish Tricolour and Starry Plough flags, which had draped Mrs O’Hara’s silver casket, were removed and presented to family members.
Speaking at the graveside, Martin McMonagle, of the Irish Republic Socialist Party (IRSP), told those present the O’Hara family had asked him to “thank the INLA for the magnificent show today in bringing Peggy to her resting place.”
In an oration, Tommy McCourt, who was introduced as “a former political and militant activist in the Republican Socialist Movement,” said Mrs O’Hara was “an honest, decent Derry woman with a strong honest attitude.
He said Mrs O’Hara was the mother of a republican family who had played “a strong and central role in the struggle we just have come through.”
He added Mrs O’Hara was left broken hearten by the death of her son, Patsy.
He said: “Peggy, on the night of Patsy’s death, struggled between what many people were trying to get the mothers of the hunger strikers to do at that time – to intervene to try and break the hunger strike – and Peggy, with the love of her son in one hand and the love of her country in another, staggered between whether to intervene or whether not to intervene, and Peggy to this day would tell you that that in itself broke her heart which I feel never ever healed.”
Also at the graveside, family members released three white doves in memory of Mrs O’Hara, her husband Jim and son Patsy.
Police, who had been called on by unionists to prevent a paramilitary funeral after a masked gunman fired a volley of shots over Mrs O’Hara’s coffin outside her home on Wednesday night, kept a discreet distance throughout the funeral.
See Monday’s Derry News for further coverage.