Real IRA ‘send message’
Real IRA ‘send message’

A hoax bomb alert on the outskirts of north Belfast has been connected to an Orange Order parade in the area last week.

The Real IRA has claimed responsiblity for the incident.

Shortly after 7am on Tuesday, two men boarded a bus, left a package on the floor and ordered the driver to take it to an Orange arch in Glengormley.

The bomb alert came just hours before a contentious Orange Order parade passed under the arch and forced the closure of the Ballyclare Road.

A senior figure associated with the Real IRA said its members were sending a message to the Orange Order, that the nationalist community was unhappy at the prospect of hundreds of loyalists marching through the village.

Later, two people were injured and there were four arrests as loyalist marchers clashed with the PSNI and nationalist youths during the march.

A number of well known republicans were also prominent during a protest at the parade.

Sinn Féin councillor Breige Meehan accused dissident republicans of trying to heighten tension in the area. She also hit out at loyalists for starting the disturbances.

“A gang of drunken loyalists who were walking ahead of the Orangemen started the trouble by throwing stones and bottles,” said Ms Meehan.

“There was only a very small number of missiles thrown from the nationalist end by way of a response.

“The situation wasn’t made any better by those dissidents, who are not from Glengormley, coming down here and stirring up tension.

“We didn’t protest at Tuesday’s parade in an effort to build bridges with the Orange Order,” Ms Meehan added.

“But it is now clear after what happened that the Orange Order is not interested in seeking a resolution to the parading issue in the area.”


Meanwhile, a Sinn Féin councillor has said that dissident republican groups can not be taken seriously because they have “never killed a member of the Brit forces”.

Cookstown councillor Michael McIvor said the strength of the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA had been “blown out of proportion” by the media and police.

Despite being responsible for a series of killings and attacks, Mr McIvor said the dissidents had been unsuccessful because they had “never caused British army deaths”.

“Those were civilian targets. I don’t think the Continuity have killed anyone in 20 years,” he said.

The Provisional IRA, on the other hand, had killed many members of the British Crown forces, Mr McIvor said.

“The IRA did, naturally enough. That’s just stating fact. There’s no point telling lies about it.”

Describing the Continuity IRA and Real IRA as “Brit loving”, Mr McIvor said there was “no comparison” between them and the Provisional IRA.

“They have no support on the ground. If they are so strong, how come there is no dead enemies?” he said.

Mr McIvor said the dissident republican groups were not “hardline”.

“The PSNI and those sections of the media who call the dissidents hardline refuse to tell the Irish people why the Continuity or Real have never killed a member of the Brit forces,” he said.

“It is far more important to get some angle against Sinn Féin than to let the truth be known.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News