Nationalist paramilitary group says 'armed struggle is over'

The Irish National Liberation Army announced Sunday that its "armed struggle is over." The INLA, a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, was formed in 1975 and was responsible for some of the most violent actions in the Irish conflict.


AFP - An Irish republican paramilitary group responsible for dozens of murders during three decades of violence in Northern Ireland has renounced its armed struggle, its political wing said Sunday.

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA)'s renunciation of violence came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Dublin, from where she was due to travel to Belfast later in the day.

"The Republican Socialist Movement has been informed by the INLA that following a process of serious debate... it has concluded that the armed struggle is over," said Martin McMonagle of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the INLA's political wing.

"The objective of a 32-county socialist republic will be best achieved through exclusively peaceful political struggle," he added, referring to the aim of a united Ireland, including the British province of Northern Ireland.

The statement made at a ceremony in Bray, outside Dublin, made no mention of decommissioning weapons.

The INLA's highest-profile attack was the 1979 murder of the British Conservative Party's Northern Ireland spokesman Airey Neave -- a close advisor of future prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

He was killed after the INLA planted a bomb under his vehicle in the House of Commons' underground car park in London.

The INLA's decision is also likely to boost the British-run province's peace process, which has come under the microscope in recent weeks.

The INLA, a splinter group of the main paramilitary Irish Republican Army (IRA), was responsible for some of the bloodiest actions in the Irish conflict after it came to prominence in 1975.

In 1982, it killed 17 people in a bomb attack on the Droppin' Well pub in Ballykelly, County Londonderry.

The bar was targeted because military staff at a nearby army base reportedly drank there.

Police say the group is now involved in criminal activity, including drugs.

A 1998 peace accord ended most of the violence which plagued Northern Ireland for three decades, killing at least 3,500 people.

But the murders of two soldiers and policeman this year, and the discovery of a number of bombs in recent weeks claimed by republican groups, have raised fears for the peace process.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app