I am writing this on behalf of my mother Peggy O Hara, Mother of Irish Republician Socialist Hunger Striker Patsy O Hara, who died on May 21st 1981 in Long Kesh.
She wishes to state her annoyance and disgust at being ask to attend a Sinn Fein Hunger strike Commemoration In Derry City on Sunday May 1st.
Why would she attend an event that is being addressed by Raymond Mc Cartney, one of a gang of 13 Derry Provisional members that attacked and beat Patsy in 1976, simply because he was a member of the INLA.
Why should she have to listen to someone that is using the INLA hunger strikers name as an electioneering tool?
We realise that he is the Provisional’s only connection in Derry with the Hunger Strike, as his icon which is displayed in the prime location of the Bogside keeps reminding us – while the 10 men who actually died, get relegated to a lesser position.
Five years ago our family and the family of Michael Devine issued a joint statement that called upon The Ex-Lord Mayor of Derry City, Lynn Fleming (Sinn Fein), to formally apologise, on behalf of the Provisional Republican movement, to the Devine and O Hara families for the harassment and attacks which both suffered at the hands of their members, during many months, which in turn contributed to the imprisonment of Patsy and Mickey in 1976. (It fell on deaf ears)
It was due to death threats from the Provisional movement upon the Republican Socialist Movement, which in turn directly led Mickey and Patsy to raid an arms shop in Lifford Co Donegal. During this raid they took 28 medium to low calibre rifles, to protect both themselves and the Movement to which they belonged.
Both (along with two others) were later arrested in Derry and charged with possession with intent.
The charges against Patsy were dropped due to no evidence. The other 3, including Mickey, were later sentenced to 12 years.
If no threats had been made upon the membership and extended families of the RSM, then it would have been unlikely that Patsy or Mickey would have found themselves imprisoned during this period in time.
As a family, we have enormous admiration for the Volunteers of the IRA who fought the British war machine to a standstill. But the actions of some of those members (including its Derry leadership) fell far short of the noble aims, objectives, and conduct of that which a freedom fighter’s should be.
We again call for a public apology.