Irish Republican News · February 15, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: McGuinness blasts republican militants
McGuinness blasts republican militants

Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin’s Deputy First Minister, has described republicans who still believe in armed struggle as “no-hopers” who are “detached from reality”.

The huge policing operation mounted across the Six Counties last week by the PSNI cast a shadow over the North-South ministerial council meeting attended by Mr McGuinness and the First Minister, the DUP’s Ian Paisley.

McGuinness also described the murder of Strabane man Andrew Burns in County Donegal on Tuesday night as “a despicable and a dastardly deed”. Mr McGuinness said those responsible were “criminals and nothing else”.

Local Garda police say they haven’t ruled out the involvement of republicans, but the ‘Real IRA’ has denied any link to his death of Andrew Burns. A little-known republican splinter group, calling itself ‘Oglaigh na hEireann’ and previously identified by the Independent Monitoring Commission, has been linked in some news reports to the attack.

Speaking after a meeting of the Policing Board last week, at which PSNI Chief Hugh Orde warned of the threat posed by breakaway groups such as the ‘Real IRA’, Mr McGuinness railed against republican hardliners in his strongest attack to date.

Some republican groups have arged that McGuinness, as a “British minister”, could be a legitimate target for attack.

The Deputy First Minister said: “There are still people within our society who believe that violence is the way forward. Well, my message to them is they who believe that are no-hopers. They are people who are going nowhere and they are people who are totally and absolutely detached from the reality of life on this island at this time.”

PSNI checkpoints are continuing to operate in areas of Derry, south Down, and south Armagh following a general escalation of tensions. Republicans have reported high levels of military surveillance along the Border in the highest level of Crown force activity in the area for several years.

In Newry, Republican Sinn Féin have praised youths who battled the PSNI in several estates over two days last week during a series of police raids.

Riots continued for over four hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 5 and 6, after a total of five men were arrested in Newry and south Armagh.

Items seized included mobile telephones, a laptop and desktop computer. The garden of one of the arrested men was dug up by the PSNI.

RSF spokesman Richard Walsh said that the youths had demonstrated their resistance to the “onslaught of the British Crown forces” during the PSNI raids, in which up to 20 police Land Rovers were involved.

Mr Walsh also challenged Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy to speak out on the situation ahead of his planned meeting with the PSNI in Crossmaglen.

“Whilst he pledges collaboration with the enemy, true republicans pledge only their eternal hostility to the British forces in Ireland,” he said.

“We in Republican Sinn Féin will continue to promote our programme for a true peace with justice in Ireland in spite of ongoing harassment of our members and supporters by those opposed to Irish Freedom.

“We will not allow ourselves to be diverted from seeking a permanent end to the cancerous British presence in our country.”

* Masked and armed members of the INLA fired a volley of shots to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of INLA volunteer Neil McMonagle in Derry this week.

Six masked men carrying guns, including two assault rifles, staged a ‘show of strength’ in Galliagh before three men fired up to six shots from three handguns at the nearby republican socialist monument.

The INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) remains on ceasefire.

© 2008 Irish Republican News