Irish Republican News · January 17, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Bomb attack follows informer claims

A unionist paramilitary group calling itself the ‘Real UFF’ has admitted responsibility for planting a pipe bomb at the home of a former Sinn Féin member in Antrim.

The device was found yesterday in the Somerset Park home in the Rathenraw estate of Aine Gribbon, who left Sinn Féin and stood as an independent republican candidate in the 2005 council elections.

The British Army bomb disposal unit discovered the pipe bomb in the house shortly after 1am following searches in Antrim and Randalstown.

The ‘Real UFF’, which is thought to have been set up by former UDA members once close to the Shoukri gang in north Belfast, admitted responsibility for the attack.

Ms Gribbon, a mother-of-nine, is a close associate of Paddy Murray, a prominent and controversial figure in local republican circles.

Murray has organised republican opposition Sinn Féin and the peace process, but has recently been forced to deny claims that he was working as an informer. Republican hardliners are reported to be sceptical of his denial. Sinn Féin has also strongly opposed Murray’s activities in Antrim and have called for the PSNI to reveal the truth over the ‘informer’ claims.

Unionist representative in south Antrim Ken Wilkinson said he took the ‘Real UFF’s claim “with a pinch of salt”.

“I’ve never heard of them in Antrim,” he said. “Loyalism would have no interest in Aine Gribbon. It’s very convenient for people to hide behind names.”

One newspaper report which linked the Real IRA to the attack. The report in a Belfast newspaper claimed the bomb was part of a trade-off between the Real IRA and the criminal loyalist gang. It also claimed the Real IRA had received arms with the assistance of loyalist drug-smugglers.

The report in the Irish News newspaper was blasted as “black propoganda” by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, which has links to the ‘Real IRA’.

In a statement, the 32CSM said: “Attempts to link Oglaigh na hEireann to drug dealers and loyalists is an exercise in barrel scrapping which will not fool a single person who has any knowledge of the use of black propaganda in the conflict in Ireland.

“We would also advise republicans to be vigilant at this time as such a story may have another sinister purpose. It is possible that this story has been planted in advance of moves to eliminate members of the republican movement and then to write it off as simply a fall out between criminals, thus absolving the British and their pro-Stormont allies from any blame.”

* Members of the unionist paramilitary UVF have been blamed for a paramilitary-style ‘punishment’ that saw two men forced to walk with placards along the loyalist Shankill Road on Friday.

One of the men appeared to have been assaulted, with blackened eyes and cuts and bruising to his face and head. Both carried placards with ‘I’m a thief and a burglar’ written crudely across them.

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2008 Irish Republican News