Dissident groupings merge to form new IRA

A Real IRA colour party at a commemoration in Derry. (2907MM01)

A Real IRA colour party at a commemoration in Derry. (2907MM01)

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The joining together of the Real IRA, Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) and other dissident groupings “will not achieve anything” according to Sinn Féin.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney made the comment after reports that the dissident groups had joined forces under the name ‘IRA.’

It was reported that three armed republican factions, the Real IRA, RAAD and the group that carried out the murder of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr, have united.

In a statement, signed by an “army council,” the new group said the three organisations “have come together with a united structure under a single leadership subservient to the constitution of the Irish Republican Army.”

It is believed the three groups have ceased to exist and become absorbed into the new umbrella group, reported to be several hundred strong. The new organisation does not include Oglaigh na h’Éireann or the Continuity IRA.

The group said the people have been sold a “phoney peace” and only a British military withdrawal will remove the “necessity” of armed action.

“It is Britain, not the IRA that has chosen provocation and conflict. The IRA’s mandate for armed struggle derives from Britain’s denial of the fundamental right of the Irish people to national self-determination and sovereignty.

“So long as Britain persists in its denial of national and democratic rights in Ireland the IRA will continue to assert those rights,” the group said.

Mr McCartney said the new group do not have public support. “The coming together of several dissident groups is not surprising given the fractious nature of those who are behind such groupings. They have over the past number of years come and gone, split and reformed on an ongoing basis.

“What is very clear from this move is that it is further evidence that they have no strategy and their aims are as clear as mud. RAAD for example have claimed to be an anti-drugs group who have now joined a larger dissident group with different aims. This latest move appears to be more to do with egos and personal fiefdoms than anything else.

“That is not to say that they cannot be dangerous. They have in the past killed people, the majority of whom have been from the nationalist community. However, these actions can take us nowhere. Meanwhile they are happy to risk the lives and liberty of young, impressionable people to achieve nothing. There is no community support for these groups. They need to desist, and they need to realise that they cannot achieve a united Ireland in this way.”