Claims by the IMC that two new hardline republican paramilitary groups are operating in the North of Ireland has been greeted with doubts.
The IMC said one group, calling itself Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) is a splinter group from the Continuity IRA. It said the group was seeking to recruit former members of the breakaway ‘Real IRA’.
The Real IRA usually uses the name Oglaigh na hEireann, the traditional Irish-language name for Irish Republican Army. Members of the new ‘Oglaigh na hEireann’ were ordered to leave the North by the Continuity IRA, according to the IMC.
The report said another group, “Saoirse na hEireann”, meaning Irish Freedom, is composed of “disaffected” republicans mainly from the Belfast area.
However, neither group, if they exist, has made any statement of any kind.
The IMC said Saoirse na hEireann claimed responsibility for two hoax attacks in September.
The IMC blamed the CIRA for planting four bombs in the period under review, as well as the disruption of two race meetings at the Down Royal Race Course.
The report came as ontinuity IRA leaders pledged to continue an armed campaign.
In a statement, the CIRA stated that “resistance to the British presence shall continue in a controlled and disciplined fashion”.
It added: “There will be no decommissioning, no ceasefires and no surrender.”
The statement was accompanied by a photograph of three Continuity IRA gunmen firing a volley of shots over the grave of the volunteer John O’Halloran.
The Limerick man is buried in Mount St Lawrence cemetery in the city.
He took his own life in Portlaoise Prison, County Laois, last October.
He was serving a five-year jail sentence after being arrested at a Continuity IRA training camp in the Comeragh Mountains in County Waterford in August 2003.
UDA KILLED GRAY - IMC
The IMC report this week also accused the unionist paramilitary UDA of killing one of its former brigadiers, Jim Gray, as part of an internal feud.
UDA leaders signalled last November that they wanted to engage with the British government in talks about their organisation’s future.
However, the IMC accused the UDA of involvement in murder, sectarian attacks, trying to procure weapons, drug dealing, extortion, money laundering, producing and selling counterfeit goods, and robbery.
It was also admitted that the UDA and the rival Ulster Volunteer Force had orchestrated disturbances after restrictions were imposed on an Orange Order parade in the Whiterock area of west Belfast in September.
Senior members of both organisations were accused of orchestrating violence during the parade, hijacking vehicles and attacking the PSNI and British army with gunfire.
In the commission’s view, the UVF and Red Hand Commando remained active, violent and ruthless, despite the ending of a feud with the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force in August.
The commission said UVF members had carried out shootings and assaults and sectarian attacks between September and late November.
The commission noted that the Loyalist Volunteer Force had declared in October that it would “stand down its military units”. The IMC said there was no evidence of this occurring as yet.
Meanwhile, a Catholic couple and their five-year-old daughter escaped injury when petrol was poured on their front door in the County Antrim village of Stoneyford on Thursday and set alight.
The attack was caught on a security camera which the couple had installed at their home in the mixed Stonebridge Meadows estate after two previous incidents.
The couple expressed concerned for their daughter.
“As soon as we got down the stairs the whole door was engulfed with the flames,” the woman said.
“I didn’t know how I was going to get her out.”
Her partner used a garden hose on the flames until firefighters arrived.
He said it was the third time the house had been targeted by “sectarian cowards and bigots”. In previous attacks the front door was smashed and paint bombs thrown.
The PSNI police denied the attack was sectarian.
And around 700 children were sent home from a school in west Belfast on Friday following a hoax bomb alert.
A member of staff at St Colm’s high school in Twinbrook discovered a suspected pipe bomb near the school shortly before 9am.
Principal Imelda Jordan confirmed the hoax had been deliberate.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation that someone would disrupt a school,” she said.