Former republican prisoner says dissident campaign is futile

Former republican socialist Paul Little
Former republican socialist Paul Little

Former republican socialist, Paul Little, last night advised dissident republicans to “carry out an analysis of what they are doing and where they are going”.

The 55-year-old, a former member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the political wing of the INLA, spent four years in prison for republican-related activities, from 1980 to 1984 .

He said that “[dissident] republicans need to understand that the [former republican] campaign failed”.

“When you take republican criteria and objectives, none of them have been met,” he said.

Mr Little said he did not believe the loss of life during the Troubles was worth it “to families or dead volunteers”.

“In hindsight, as a republican and republican socialist, we had objectives and I don’t think we achieved any of those,” he said. “You need to look at that campaign and see that it failed.

“As Bernadette McAliskey said years ago, ‘the war is over and the good guys lost’. There needs to be public debate within the wider republican community, but unfortunately Sinn Fein will not engage.”

He added that, in his point of view, the current dissident campaign is “futile at the minute because they don’t have clear aims and objectives other than losing the British presence in Ireland which I don’t have a problem with per se”.

“But when you are waging any sort of campaign you have to have some sort of possibility of success and I don’t see these campaigns as having any success.”

The former Antrim man added that his “fear” is that the ongoing dissident republican campaign will see “sectarianism increase”.

“That is not good,” he added. “We need to spend more time looking at what is going on, on the ground in working class communities rather than at Stormont.”

He added that he never had any hope for the Haass talks as “if they can’t reach agreement when they are sitting together every day [in Stormont], the notion that Haass was going to get them to focus was ridiculous”.

“For any meaningful dialogue and discussion people have to come at it honestly and I think there is very little honesty in Stormont and the executive,” he said.

“The politicians are entrenched but they also pursue isolationist policies. Those who advocate isolationism are not helping their communities, they are driving them into the ground. They are not allowing the working class communities to engage and move on.”