The Blanket

Maskey And Mackin Did Not Broker INLA Ceasefire
 
John Martin

A biography of Alex Maskey called 'Alex Maskey: Man and Mayor' by Barry McCaffrey has just been published. Part of the book carries the extraordinary assertion that 'Liam Maskey and the trade unionist Brendan Mackin acted as conduits between the INLA and the British Government during discussions that ended with the Republican Group announcing a ceasefire.' And 'throughout 1997 and the first eight months of 1998 the two men carried a succession of messages between the INLA and the British.'

This is simply not true. During both 1997 and 1998 the stance of the INLA towards the British was summed up in the phrase 'Don¹t trust the British.' As a result the leadership of the INLA had taken a decision that it would not talk to the British Ministers. During the whole of the year 1997 the INLA was not on ceasefire and indeed in December 1997 the Ard Feis of the IRSP had decisively rejected a motion recommending the INLA to call a ceasefire.

While there was ongoing contact with the priests in Clonard Monastery no moves were made towards the British at all. However after the result of the Referenda on the Good Friday Agreement a series of meetings of the leadership of the INLA was held. Resulting from these meetings a number of decisions were made including ending any co-operation with other groups and seeking talks with representatives of the Irish Government and with representatives of the Northern Ireland Office to explain the position of the INLA. In June /July 1998 only one meeting was held with Maskey and Mackin with a view to set up a meeting with the NIO. They were asked to facilitate that meeting because of their proud trade union record. This followed the RSM contacting Brendan Mackin with a view to exploring what would be the procedure re prisoners following any INLA cease-fire. At those meetings the representatives of the INLA informed those they met of the INLA¹s views on the consequences of the decision of the people in Ireland to endorse the Good Friday Agreement.

For the record it should be recorded that while both Liam Maskey and Brendan Mackin are good people of integrity They did not broker the INLA ceasefire. They did not carry a succession of messages between the INLA and the British Government. They did not act as conduits between the INLA and the British.




 

 

 

 

 

 

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