RSF leadership denies Continuity IRA ‘coup’
RSF leadership denies Continuity IRA ‘coup’

The leadership of Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) admitted this week that a recent convention of local leaders of the Continuity IRA has sought to form a breakaway republican armed group. It described the meeting as “unauthorised”.

In a statement given to the Dublin-based Irish Times and attributed to the Continuity IRA, it was claimed that the recent meeting of local leaders of the armed group was improperly called and represented an attack on the leadership.

The statement was issued to ther Irish Times after a report in the Belfast-based Irish News claimed that the “old guard” of the organisation had been replaced on the organisation’s army council. A handful of younger activists committed to stepping up its “military activity” and in support of a ‘broad front’ with other republican groups had taken over in what was described in the report as an internal ‘coup’.

It added: “The leadership of the republican movement wishes to make it known publicly that contrary to claims made privately by those attempting to set up a splinter group, no general army convention of ‘Oglaigh na hEireann’ - popularly known as the Continuity IRA - has been held.

“Some persons attending did so on the understanding that it was a genuine ‘army’ meeting. When it turned out to be an attack and an undermining of the leadership, a number of people reported to headquarters staff on what had taken place. As a result, the principal people involved were dismissed . . . others were suspended pending an investigation of their position.”

The statement said such meetings would not be tolerated. It added: “We warn that the unauthorised use of the name of the ‘army’ can have consequences. There is no ceasefire. The army council is intact and is fully in control of all matters concerning the ‘army’.”

The successors appointed at the meeting in Bettystown, County Louth, were said to be mostly from the Six Counties. They criticised the existing leadership for “winding things down”.

A statement by the Republican Sinn Fein leadership said advocates of a “broad front” of republicans would not succeed in attempts to “hijack” the organisation.

Senior Republican Sinn Fein figures such as Des Dalton, Ruairi O Bradaigh, Joe O’Neill and Geraldine Taylor said the organisation’s “enemies” should be rejected by “true republicans”. They acknowledged that senior figures were involved in the dispute.

“We know who these people are and have been aware of their activities for some time. Some of them have held senior positions in the past and therefore share responsibility for the situation they now complain of,” they said.

“They call for unity yet they themselves launch yet another splinter group, at a time when the protesting Republican prisoners in Magahberry prison need our fullest attention. They should be rejected by true Republicans.”

A statement in support of the Republican Sinn Fein leadership was also issued in the name of the CIRA prisoners at Maghaberry in County Antrim.

* The IRSP accused the regime at Maghaberry jail of “bad faith” after a delegation of relatives and prison campaigners was denied an agreed delegation visit in the jail today.

The delegation, which included the I.R.S.Ps Paul Little and Elaine Carlin the wife of Republican Socialist prisoner Sean Carlin got through to the main visiting area (that was totally unsuitable for the delegation as it only would seat six people), only to be told that the prisoners had refused a strip search and the meeting could not take place.

* There were two separate bomb alerts in Lurgan and Derry and Thursday.

In Lurgan, the British army bomb squad called to examine a suspicious object found close to the railway line at Bell’s Road Crossing on Thursday morning.

The railway line was closed for several hourse efore the device was delcared a hoax.

* Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) has said it has ordered ten Derry people to leave the north west immediately.

The vigilante group, which has been responsible for more than a number of punishment attacks across the north west in the last year, said in a statement all of those it has decided to “expel” for the city are involved in the drugs trade.

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