Republican dispute in Armagh

Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) has accused the Provisional IRA of mounting a campaign of intimidation against its members in County Armagh.

The party, which split from Sinn Féin in 1986, claimed two of its associates have been attacked in Lurgan in recent days and threats have been made against their lives.

A spokesman for RSF, Seamus Gillespie, claimed the intimidation was part of an attempt to stop the party from forming a cumann in the area.

He said the Provisional IRA had stepped up their campaign over the Easter weekend.

Mr Gillespie claimed that one man was so badly beaten that he spent three nights in hospital.

“He received a badly fractured arm that is still swollen and scarred and stitches to his head,” he said.

“Since his release he has been visited by the RUC/PSNI who informed him of a threat to his life by the Provos.”

He also claimed that members of the Provisional IRA had attacked another man selling Easter Lillies on Thursday.

Mr Gillespie said that wreaths left by RSF at the republican plot in St Coleman’s cemetery on Easter Sunday were ripped up and dumped.

“So much for people who portray themselves as republicans. They are thugs and true republicans will not be cowed or intimidated by their tactics,” he said.

Sinn Féin assembly member for the area, John O’Dowd, said he had “no evidence” to suggest that any republican was involved in the alleged attacks.

“Sinn Féin would not be in favour of the intimidation of anyone,” he said.

“I have no evidence that this alleged intimidation is on-going and I was not even aware that Republican Sinn Féin had formed a cumann in Lurgan.

“I can assure people that no republicans attending the Easter Sunday commemorations ripped up any wreaths. There was no-one engaging in any such activity.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News