While Sinn Féin has gone to great lengths over the last decade to move away from its armed revolutionary past, replacing shows of strength with commemorations and pageantry, the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) seems to have gone the other way. Since 2015 there has been a noticeable “militarisation” of the IRSP’s public demonstrations, with a modest revival of its insurgent wing, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). The latter grouping declared a ceasefire in August 1998, after a near-decade of bloody infighting between competing factions, followed by a permanent cessation in October 2009. By that date it had completed its transformation from a guerrilla force to an apolitical criminal gang, a process which had begun some twenty years earlier. However in recent times there has been a modest effort to “decontaminate” the conjoined halves of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM). This may, in part, reflect the INLA’s reappearance and desire for publicity, though it remains but a shadow of its former self.
In any case, the video below shows a two-person firing party at the funeral of Barry McMullan, a relatively well-known IRSP activist from West Belfast. The duo approach the funeral cortege as it makes its way to Milltown Cemetery, halting for a moment near a prominent INLA wall mural on the Whiterock Road, where they fire off a quick volley of shots from two handguns. Several members of the group escorting the hearse then rush forward, presumably to retrieve the spent shell casings (so preventing or impeding their forensic examination). All carefully staged, of course, though to what effect remains to be seen.