The ‘Real IRA’ has claimed responsibility for three bomb attacks over the past few months, and has warned that it will continue to target economic interests which reinforce British rule in the North.
In a statement to the Guardian newspaper, the group said the bombings, against two banks as well as the ‘UK City of Culture’ office in Derry, were intended “to send out the message that while the Irish national and class struggles are distinct, they are not separate”.
The breakaway IRA group said the office of the UK City of Culture in Derry was a symbolic target because it was being used to underpin British rule.
And in a warning to banks in both Britain and Ireland, the statement said: “The IRA has recently carried out a number of bomb attacks on the banking establishment.
“Such attacks are an integral part of our strategy of targeting the financial infrastructure that supports the British government’s capitalist colonial system in Ireland. The impetus to carry out this type of attack is directly linked to pressure from working-class communities in Ireland as a whole.
“At a grassroots level, working-class communities are suffering most from the effects of cuts to essential services and poverty is now endemic. Families who have lost income as a result of the financial crisis - caused by the bankers - are being intimidated and some are being evicted from their homes.”
The organisation added that “the ruling class of bankers and politicians are disconnected from the consequences of their disastrous policies and decisions”.
In May, masked men threw a holdall containing a device into Santander’s branch in Derry city centre. In August, a bomb was thrown into Santander in Hill Street, Newry. A much larger device caused major damage to a branch of the Ulster Bank in Derry last year.
The group linked the banks to the British PSNI police in Ireland.
“In the six counties, the effective power of the system is vested in heavily armed PSNI units who, ultimately, enforce bank repossessions of homes, vehicles, etc,” it said.
“The PSNI is not a police force, it is a political militia and a social control tool designed to protect the interests of the British establishment whether financial or political.”
In September last year, the IRA had issued a warning that banks and bankers could be targeted.
As well as the attack in Derry’s Guildhall Square last week, a bomb was left at the UK Culture office on 12 October last year.
The statement said: “The IRA has also carried out bombing operations against the so-called UK City of Culture offices in Derry city centre. It should be obvious that our objection is focused on the political exploitation of Derry’s name and culture. Republicans view this charade as an elaboration of the well-choreographed ‘peace process’ which resulted in former IRA personnel serving as British ministers.
“This time, the whole nationalist community is expected to join in celebrations of their place within the United Kingdom and thereby realise the Thatcherite policy of regarding the six counties as being ‘as British as Finchley’. Expressions of Irish identity within the context of 2013 will be effectively ‘licensed’ by the organisers under the banner UK City of Culture.”
The group added: “The timing of the UK City of Culture is linked to the economic crisis: cash-strapped businesses naturally follow the carrot of increased revenue in 2013, politicians under pressure to produce jobs are totally compliant, anyone who objects is smeared or labelled a ‘dissident’. The goodwill of our communities is being held to ransom, critical thinking is seen as dangerous, whole communities are being encouraged to adopt a herd mentality. The IRA will continue to challenge this; resistance will continue.”