Remembering with pride Volunteers Ronnie Bunting & Noel Little, Belfast Brigade, Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) who were murdered by Loyalist paramilitaries, on the 15th of October 1980.
Ronnie Bunting was a staff officer in the INLA and the commander of its Belfast Brigade, as well as a member of the IRSP’s Ard Chomhairle (national executive) and a member of the National H-Block/Armagh Committee, formed to support the struggle of prisoners of war within British prisons in the North of Ireland.
He grew up in a middle class Protestant family, and because of this background, pro-British loyalists considered him to be a “renegade Protestant.”
His father was Major Ronald Bunting, a British Army officer who became an aide to Ian Paisley and organized attacks on civil rights marchers in 1969.
He began his political activism while an arts student at Queen’s
University of Belfast. He was briefly a member of People’s Democracy before joining Official Sinn Féin and the Official Irish Republican Army in 1970. He was interned without trial by the British government in its Long Kesh prison camp from 1971 to 1973.
He was expelled from OSF and the OIRA in 1974 because of his support for Seamus Costello. When Costello formed the IRSP and the INLA on 8 December 1974, Bunting was there with him.
Ronnie Bunting was only 32 when he was assassinated in his home in the Turf Lodge area of West Belfast. Although a pro-British death squad known as the Ulster Freedom Fighters took credit, a unit of the British Army’s Special Air Service was suspected of carrying out the assassination. Three previous attempts on Bunting’s life had been made between 1975 and 1978.
Noel Little, a fellow member of the IRSP and the INLA, was also killed in the attack. Ronnie’s wife Suzanne survived being shot in the head.
A memorial to Bunting and Little was unveiled in the Gransha/Turf Lodge area of West Belfast on 13 October 2002.
Noel Little began his political activism in the 1960s as a member ofthe Northern Ireland Labour Party before becoming involved in theNorth’s civil rights movement and helping to found People’s Democracy.
Opposition within People’s Democracy to the growing armed struggle eventually led Little to leave and join the small Red Republican Party. After discussions with members of the IRSP in Belfast, he joined the IRSP and the INLA in 1980. He was also a member of the National H-Block/Armagh Committee.
He was 44 when he was assassinated along with Ronnie Bunting by what was suspected to be a unit of the British Army’s Special Air Service, although a pro-British death squad known as the Ulster Freedom Fighters took credit.
A memorial to Little and Bunting was unveiled in the Gransha/Turf Lodge area of West Belfast on 13 October 2002.
With many thanks to: Stephen Codd for the original story.