Last year we saw the morphing of two ‘dissident’ groups locally, which many in the Republican community believe was a marriage of convenience as both groupings were on their last legs.
One with the prefix ‘Real’ was really going nowhere, was heavily infiltrated by agents and had linked up with a criminal gang in Dublin who were extorting tens of thousands of pounds in and around our capital city.
The second, RAAD, was another grouping who said they would clear our city of drugs and drug dealers and had no interest in politics. Within a very short space of time it became very clear they had little interest in the drugs problem and became involved in shooting easy targets of young people, getting involved in all sorts of rows, personal vendettas, taking bounty money and finally attacking the PSNI.
The citizens of Derry saw all this being played out and the pressure from ordinary people was so immense RAAD were also going out of business fast. Their apologists had run out of things to say to explain away their dastardly actions.
So the merger was an easy way out for both groupings to escape all this and reform under a new umbrella name. It was a dream ticket for the British Military Intelligence services and the name chosen, the ‘IRA’, was the ultimate way to try and sully the names of all those were part of the Republican Movement for generations.
This new grouping is greeted with disdain within the Republican community. Gerry Kelly summed the feelings of many when he said at an Easter Sunday commemoration in Dungiven two weeks ago; “I get angry when Republicanism’s reputation is sullied by small groups who have at best blurred the definition of revolutionary and criminal activity. Whether it’s in Dublin, Derry, Belfast or Tyrone, ordinary people are finding it more difficult to detect any semblance of political struggle when it comes to these small groups, no matter what grand titles they choose for themselves.
“Let me say this loud and clear and proudly to this alphabet of organizations- There is only one IRA one Irish Republican Army. Ceann amhain! Oglaigh Na hEireann”.
Lifelong Derry Republican
(name and address supplied)