Senior Sinn Féin figure Declan Kearney says dissident republican groups have been infiltrated by criminals and have been attempting to create division in nationalist areas through recent attacks on Dove House in Derry and Féile an Phobail in West Belfast.
The Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson said those behind the recent attacks and threats are expending all of their energies on “attacking the peace process and Sinn Féin” rather than “attempting to build a political or electoral base.”
“Some have become increasingly engaged in violent attacks, including murders, against those living in nationalist areas: they are now in direct conflict with the nationalist population.
“It is clear these groups have been infiltrated, both North and South, by criminals.
“An atmosphere of recrimination and adversity has been created in nationalist areas in an attempt to provoke confrontation with Sinn Féin activists and local republican supporters.
“Last month a sinister escalation in this pattern of activity occurred when both Dove House Resource Centre and Féile an Phobail became targets.
“The only effect of such incidents is to disrupt, divide and demoralise the community within nationalist areas. The only conclusion to be drawn is that is their intended objective.
“Republicans hostile to Sinn Féin, and criminals masquerading as republicans, are being ‘played’ in an attempt to destabilise nationalist areas in the north.”
Mr Kearney suggested some of the groups behind recent attacks may be being directed by the security services.
“Eighteen years after the Good Friday Agreement, British security and intelligence services continue to exert a toxic influence in the north of Ireland.
“The activities of the ‘dark side’ are totally incompatible with the democratic process. It is time for wider society to demand an end to their corrosive role and existence.
“As National Chairperson of Sinn Féin, I have written officially, twice in the last eight months alone, to a range of these so-called republican groups, inviting private dialogue.
“Refusal to engage in dialogue perpetuates hostility and fuels the potential for confrontation.”