Northern Ireland news

IRSP accuse Thatcher of ordering INLA men's killing

INLA member Noel Little
Connla Young

THE IRSP has claimed that two members were killed as part of a wider campaign against the party which was backed by the British government.

The party spoke out after it emerged that Tory MP and Advocate General for Northern Ireland, Jeremy Wright QC is due to rule on whether there should be a new inquest into the death of INLA member Noel Little (45).

He was shot dead with fellow INLA man Ronnie Bunting (32) at a house in Downfine Gardens in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast in October 1980.

The double murder has been veiled in mystery amid claims that members of the SAS may have been involved, although the UDA later claimed responsibility.

The two men, who were also key members of the IRSP, were shot dead less than a year after Tory MP Airy Neave was killed when an INLA booby-trap bomb exploded under his car at the House of Commons in London.

After Mr Neave’s death several high profile figures linked to the IRSP and National H-Block Committee were shot dead or injured.

A senior figure in the Conservative Party, Mr Neave was a close ally of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Wright will now make the inquest decision after a certificate transferring the case from the north’s attorney general John Larkin QC was issued by secretary of state Karen Bradley.

Earlier this week a Northern Ireland Office spokeswoman said: “The secretary of state is satisfied there is material held by the UK government relevant to the decision whether to open a fresh inquest, which is national security sensitive.”

The spokesman added that: “The advocate general is an independent law officer in the same way as the attorney general for Northern Ireland: he will make a decision independent of government.”

IRSP spokesman member Willie Gallagher said he believes the decision to target the party could have come directly from Margaret Thatcher.

“The overall combination of events and circumstances in that period led the IRSP to the conclusion that British soldiers acting under direct political orders, and assisted by willing stooges within the UDA and the RUC, conducted what was a campaign of murder against our party,” he said.

Airey Neave's car after an INLA bomb exploded underneath it in 1980

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