Thomas "Ta" Power

Thomas Power was an Irish republican socialist, also known as Ta Power, who was a leading member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). According to the Irish Republican Socialist Movement (IRSM) biography page on Power, he was "from Friendly Street in the Markets area of south Belfast, he had been in the Official IRA but joined the INLA in 1975 while a prisoner in Long Kesh." Aged 33, he was shot and killed in County Louth[1] alongside INLA leader John O'Reilly. Another man, Hugh Torney, was injured, by the Irish People's Liberation Organisation, which was largely composed of former INLA members, as he arrived to negotiate a truce.[2]

Power was a Marxist theorist and historian within the IRSM, who advocated dramatic changes in its strategy and structure. This is the current policy blueprint for the IRSM. These ideas can be read in the 'Ta Power Document'[3] and include the principles of 'collective leadership', 'politics in command' and other concepts Power believed would steer the IRSM away from a military-led strategy. These ideas were adopted by the INLA just before Power's death and were finally implemented within the movement as a whole under the direction of Gino Gallagher.[4]

Jack Holland and Henry McDonald[2] posited that "[S]ubordinating military struggle to carefully thought-out political strategy had been Ta Power's dream for a long time. In the 1980s Sinn Féin and the IRA made that a reality with their ballot box and armalite policy. The provos learnt well from the lessons and mistakes of the IRSP/INLA".


  1. Profile,; accessed 10 November 2015.
  2. 1 2 INLA - Deadly Divisions by Jack Holland and Henry McDonald, Torc Publishing (1994).
  4. The Starry Plough, Jan/Feb 2006, "Gino Gallagher: Examining His Impact on the IRSP Ten Years On" by Gerry Ruddy, Belfast IRSP.

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