Republican Sinn Fein President Ruairi O’Bradaigh has derided Martin McGuinness’s condemnation of the breakaway IRA groups as “traitors”.
He also said last week’s attacks by the Continuity IRA and ‘Real IRA’ were inevitable and could be repeated in the near future.
A republican veteran with almost 60 years of service, Mr O’Bradaigh said Mr McGuinness’s comments were hypocritical.
“When I heard it, I thought immediately ‘Who is the traitor?’
“Is it those who just behave as they always behaved and believe sincerely as they always believed in republican struggle?
“Or are they the people who turned their coats like McGuinness, accepted British rule, destroyed the arms, who said they would never accept a unionist veto and now have done so?
“In my view, McGuinness has abused words.”
Commenting on Sinn Fein’s policy of encouraging young Catholics in the North to consider a job with the PSNI police, Mr O’Bradaigh said that was “very unwise...because that’s obviously going to put them in harm’s way. Which is a very grave responsibility to undertake.
“My advice would be ‘don’t join up’ and I think it’s wrong to encourage young people to join the British forces.”
His advice extended to those who have been encouraged by the Sinn Fein leadership to pass on information about the breakaway groups to the PSNI.
“The record stands. People were shot dead for doing that [informing] and, just as I would say the Provos should not be calling on people to join the British forces, I would also say that they should not call on people to give information to the British occupation regime in Ireland.
“Because that is treachery and they [the Provos] are the very ones who called it treachery and carried out certain consequences for those unfortunates who informed. It’s still wrong to inform and give information about those who are resisting British occupation. It is still betrayal. It is still treachery.”
The RSF leader, who founded the organisation during a split from the Adams/McGuinness group 23 years ago, has been constant in his attitude towards those who choose to take up arms against British forces in Ireland -- including the “armed adjunct” of the British army, the PSNI.
“As long as the British remain in a part of Ireland, there will always be some kind of IRA to stand up to them,” he said.
BEWARE THREAT - PAISLEY
Meanwhile, unionist hardliner Ian Paisley has warned that Martin McGuinness’s life is now on the line following his virulent attack on his former comrades.
It has been reported that Mr McGuinness has been provided with more protection around his home in Derry.
The former DUP leader and First Minister said he was in no doubt that Mr McGuinness had put his life in danger.
“My former deputy will have known the import of his words,” he said.
“They were words that no republicans would like to hear about themselves.
“Clearly there are some people who would want to seek revenge. But Mr McGuinness and politicians across the board have shown real leadership.
“It was heartening to see and hear the unprecedented and united response from all politicians to these bloodthirsty criminals in Antrim and Craigavon.
Mr McGuinness himself said he would “not be intimidated” by the reaction of republican groups to his statement. He also denied having stepped up his personal security over fears of attack.
“I am not concerned about my safety and my security,” he said.
“I and others in the political process have the overwhelming support of the people of Ireland for what we are doing.”