Republicans to discuss new political direction
Republicans to discuss new political direction

A meeting to discuss the current state of republicanism and to establish “a way forward” is being held in the County Antrim village of Toome on Tuesday evening.

Members of left-wing republican groups disaffected with or openly opposed to the Sinn Féin leadership are expected to join in criticising the current state of the peace process.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, former IRA hunger-striker Marion Price, now a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, said more and more republicans were expressing opposition to the troubled process of implementing the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

“There have been more new faces at meetings,” she said. “Anti-Agreement ranks are definitely swelling. There has been so much bickering in the past between anti-Agreement republicans. It’s time it stopped.

“Far more unites than divides us. For the sake of republicanism, we need to find a common way forward. Unity is strength.”

Political activists with no military involvement are involved in organising the meeting, which is expected to be closely surveilled by PSNI Special Branch and British military intelligence.

Members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party are expected to attend.

Paddy Murray, a former Provisional IRA prisoner currently on bail on charges linked to the breakaway Real IRA, said anti-agreement republicans were “regrouping and restrengthening” and gaining in confidence.

“The Provos are in big trouble with their own community and they know it.”

“We are trying to get as many people as possible genuinely thinking of an alternative to the Provos,” he added.

The discovery of a nail bomb and command wire in Bellaghy, County Derry, at the beginning of July is said to signify growing support in the area for a more hardline republican position.

Sinn Féin has not commented on the meeting.

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