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20th-Jul-2015 04:34 am - Police raids follow Peggy O’Hara funeral
Derry Journal
19 July 2015

Police say they seized a number of items following raids carried out in Derry following incidents at the wake and funeral of the mother of INLA Hunger Striker, Patsy O’Hara.

Peggy O’Hara was the last of the Hunger Strikers’ mothers to die, and was laid to rest yesterday in one of the largest paramilitary style funerals seen in the city for many years.

The PSNI confirmed that they carried out searches in Derry this morning in connection with a number of recent events in the city.

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan said: “This morning’s searches follow a number of recent incidents linked to the wake and funeral of Peggy O’Hara. A number of items have been seized and police enquiries are ongoing.”

20th-Jul-2015 04:29 am - Masked republicans at Derry funeral of hunger striker’s mother
David Moore
News Letter
19 July 2015


Image from Belfast Telegraph

Members of terror group the INLA stood guard at the funeral of a hunger striker’s mother in Derry on Saturday.

The DUP have questioned the policing of the funeral, which they say “seemed to take place without a police officer in sight”.

However, one photo of the event shows a PSNI vehicle with a CCTV camera observing ranks of masked men as they parade past.

The funeral cortege of Peggy O’Hara, mother of the hunger striker Patsy O’Hara, who died in the Maze Prison in 1981, was accompanied to the graveside by a ‘colour parade’ of 50 men and women in paramilitary dress.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said that prior to Saturday’s funeral, his party colleagues had alerted the PSNI to the potential for paramilitary displays at the funeral after members of the illegal republican group fired shots over the coffin of Mrs O’Hara outside her home in the Templegrove area of the city on Wednesday.

“Despite our efforts with the police, it would seem that there were no visible signs of police in close proximity to the funeral cortège on Saturday,” he said.

Mr Campbell said that, in contrast with recent convictions for loyalist bandsmen breaching Parades Commission determinations, it seemed INLA members could discharge guns “without fear of prosecution”.

The East Londonderry MP called on the PSNI to explain the extent of the policing operation and what action will be taken against the illegal parade.

“It seems, however, that the police are treating some groups in some areas with kid gloves, thus leaving the impression that there is a two-tier justice system.”

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said there is no “one size fits all” approach to policing but strongly denied allegations the PSNI are biased.

“We absolutely reject any suggestion of bias in policing.

“Such remarks are inaccurate, unhelpful and ill informed,” he said.

The PSNI said that items were seized during searches as part of its investigation into the wake and funeral.

A republican speaker at the funeral said that the O’Hara family supported the INLA show of strength.

In comments reported online by the Derry Now website, Martin McMonagle of the Irish Republican Socialist Party told mourners that the O’Hara family had asked him to “thank the INLA for the magnificent show today in bringing Peggy to her resting place”.

However, UUP MLA Ross Hussey said people would expect to see convictions after “this brazen display of paramilitary thuggery”.

“People will feel intimidated and shocked that this is allowed to happen in 2015,” he said.

The West Tyrone MLA added that the presence of paramilitaries on the streets “tarnishes the name of the city of Londonderry”.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton responded sarcastically to a Twitter user who questioned the policing of the funeral.

“Clue might be in the police Land Rover complete with evidence gathering facilities! Like we said earlier – an investigation ongoing.”

The PSNI were unable to provide details of how many convictions have resulted from intelligence gathering operations at funerals.

18th-Jul-2015 08:51 pm - Patsy O’Hara’s mother is laid to rest in Derry
Derry Journal
18 July 2015



Photo by Hugh Gallagher

There was a large turnout for the funeral of the late Peggy O’Hara in Derry as people from across the country gathered at the Long Tower chapel to say farewell to the much loved mother of INLA hunger striker Patsy who died in Long Kesh in May 1981, 61 days into his protest.

The remains of Mrs O’Hara, 86, were brought to the funeral mass in a horse drawn carriage; a tricolour flower arrangement on top said simply “friend”.

In his eulogy the Reverend Brendan Collins said that he had learned much about Peggy as he sat with he family during the wake and added that he had been particularly struck by the “high esteem” in which she was held by all who had known her.

“She was well known in the community and beyond, with people coming to today’s funeral from far and wide and was a huge source of comfort and support for so many,” he said.

“When we reflect on Peggy’s life we think of the question ‘how did she do it’?

“How did she keep her spirits up? She was a strong person of great faith. Father Paddy O’Kane who brought communion to Peggy every month and is in Lourdes today told me that he is celebrating mass there for her as well. He told me that he first met Peggy when her son Patsy was in prison just a few days before he died. He described Peggy as a very kind, sincere and good natured lady. A woman who loved her family and whose strong faith had sustained her through the darker days in her life.”

Mrs O’Hara’s remains were flanked by a 50 man colour party who escorted her to her final resting place in the city cemetery via Bishop Street and the Brandywell.

14th-Jul-2015 08:49 pm - Mother of Derry hunger striker passes away
Derry Journal
14 July 2015

Peggy O’Hara, mother of Derry hunger striker Patsy O’Hara has passed away aged 88.

Mrs O’Hara’s son Patsy, a member of the INLA was amongst ten republican prisoners who died in Long Kesh on hunger strike in 1981. He died after 61 days.

Mrs O’Hara contested the Northern Ireland Assembly elections aged 76 in 2007.

At that time she was quoted as saying she would stand after Sinn Fein announced in that year they would hold a special Ard Fheis on policing in the north. Mrs O’Hara said she would put her name forward for the elections in memory of her son.

““Patsy would have been against this,” she said.

“I was there for years and years when Patsy got lifted and was taken out in his bare feet by the police.

“A lot of people, including young people, have the same opinion as me.

“No-one has come to me and asked me what I think of the policing debate.

“I am standing in memory of Patsy if the elections take place,” she told the Irish News in 2007.

The O’Hara family hailed from the Bishop Street area of Derry. Patsy O’Hara was interned in Long Kesh in 1974 and joined the INLA upon his release in 1975. He was subsequently arrested in Derry later that same year and held on remand for six months and for a further period of four months in 1976.

In May 1978, he was arrested in Dublin but was released hours later. He returned to Derry in 1979 and was arrested and later convicted of posession of a hand grenade and recieved an eight year jail term. At the beginning of the first hunger strike in 1980 he was officer commanding INLA prisoners in Long Kesh. He joined the 1981 hunger strike on March 22, 1981.

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