The British government is to move quickly to plug the apparent legal loophole that could allow members of the breakaway ‘Real IRA’ to avoid being jailed for membership of the organisation.
Until Wednesday, republicans could be jailed anywhere on the island on the word of police detective testifying that he believed they were members of the ‘Real IRA’.
Justice Girvan dismissed such charges against four County Tyrone men because, it was not a specifically proscribed [illegal] organisation. Previous convictions had identified the breakaway group with the proscribed IRA, something which Justice Girvan refused to accept.
Mr Murphy said the British government would appeal the decision, and if that failed it would amend the law so that it would be illegal to be a member of the ‘Real IRA’ or ‘Continuity IRA’.
“The term ‘IRA’, I think, both in Ireland and in the UK, was an umbrella term for all the different groupings within the Irish Republican Army. And it was felt then, it certainly wasn’t challenged then, that that covered the ‘Real IRA’, and that is why it caused everybody to believe this was the case,” he said.
“If this is a loophole we have got to cover up, then we’ll deal with it. We’ll take it to appeal,” added Mr Murphy.