By Chris Thornton
BELFAST — Former Noraid leader Martin Galvin came into dispute with relatives of people who died in the 1998 Omagh bombing when he spoke last week in support of prisoners associated with the group that carried out the mass killing.
Galvin, a New Yorker, called for more support for Real IRA prisoners during a fund-raiser in West Belfast that was picketed by the Omagh relatives.
"We will never stop backing the families of republican prisoners, just as we will never cease in our opposition to British rule, nor in working to build a credible republican alternative which will succeed in freeing all republican political prisoners by ending British rule," Galvin said.
The fund-raising event happened three days after the second anniversary of the Omagh bomb attack, which killed 29 men, women and children.
The picketing relatives, who held up photographs of the bomb’s victims,
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called on the American, Irish and British governments to use "all legitimate, democratic means at their disposal" to combat the Real IRA and groups associated with it.
"All people committed to democracy and peace in Ireland should be prepared to
stand against them," they said in a statement. "We will, as a result of
tonight’s events, be starting that debate and stand against this evil organization."
The group behind the fund-raiser, the Irish Republican Prisoners’ Welfare
Association, asked the Omagh relatives to leave the premises and vowed to continue raising money with events in Dublin and Dundalk this week.