The 32 County Sovereignty Movement has paid tribute to former political prisoner Alan Ryan who was brutally shot down by a hired hitman in Dublin earlier this week.
They extended sympathy to the Ryan family following what they said was the “cowardly” murder of a friend and comrade”.
Ryan was killed by a coalition of criminal gangs who reportedly joined together to assassinate the determined anti-drugs campaigner.
Reports that Mr Ryan was a member of the IRA were neither confirmed nor denied by the 32CSM.
He was visiting family members close to his own home in Clongriffin when he was ambushed on the street when leaving on Monday afternoon.
“Alan was shot in the back in cold blood on the streets where he grew up, streets where he had worked tirelessly to tackle the scourge of drugs which he had always opposed with every fibre of his being,” the group said.
“We cannot express in words the pain now felt by both the movement as a whole and individual activists now that he has been taken from us.
“Alan’s murder does not mean the end of the cause for which he gave his life.”
They said Ryan had “set an example which will be followed”.
“He will not be forgotten by his comrades who remain and who will carry on his legacy as resolutely as he did the legacy of others who fell before him.”
There had been previous attempts on his life, notably in 2010, when a hitman opened fire in a pub in Fairview in what Garda police said was an attempt to ‘wipe out’ Ryan.
Ireland’s tabloid newspapers carried lurid reports on the prominent republican over the years, describing a “reign of terror” as his confrontations with the criminal gangs escalated. Drug dealers were outraged by the vigilante’s range of activities, which they said saw some of their funds intercepted and passed on to the IRA.
Ryan played a prominent part in organising protests against the visit to Dublin of English queen Elizabeth Windsor last year, and was pre-emptively arrested during heavy-handed police raids on the eve of her visit.
Derry republican Gary Donnelly said Ryan was “a committed Republican, community and anti-drug activist” who had stood “shoulder to shoulder with the working class” in Dublin and throughout the country.
“Alan was no saint or Mother Teresa nor did he ever claim to be, he was one of the most fearless activists I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
“Alan had a social conscience and this is the reason why a young Alan Ryan from Dublin spent a lot of his youth locked up in Portlaoise gaol.
“He cared about the people in the six counties he was prepared to stand up against injustice and the illegal occupation in Ireland.”
He said Ryan had put his own life on the line to take on “scum responsible for poisoning kids in working class areas of Dublin”.
“When Alan saw a pregnant woman being clamped at the side of the road he jumped out of his car took a hammer to the clamp and told the clampers in no uncertain terms to go away.
“Whenever he saw a dealer he smashed them up there and then. To Alan it was black and white. That’s why they shot him down in the street. Alan couldn’t be bought, that’s why he’s dead.”