The New IRA has said any border infrastructure developed as a result of Britain’s withdrawal of the north of Ireland from the EU will be considered a legitimate target for attack.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, a representative of the organisation’s Army Council told correspondent Alex Thomson that any Crown Border Force installations or personnel would be “legitimate targets”. He said the New IRA reserved the right to attack anyone who upheld “the illegal border in Ireland”.
Channel 4 said the interview took place yesterday at an IRA safe house in the 26 Counties under tight security conditions.
As intense negotiations continue in Brussels and London ahead of an EU summit starting tomorrow, the New IRA member said:
“First of all there is no such thing as an Irish border. It’s a British border. Since its formation, since its inception, the purpose of the IRA has been to take action against all such infrastructure of British occupation.
“The IRA is an Army. And as an Army we are committed to armed struggle for political and social change in Ireland. Bearing in mind any installation or aspects of British occupation within the Six Counties -- be it at the border or elsewhere -- any infrastructure would be a legitimate target for attack and armed actions against those infrastructures and against the people who are manning them.
“It’s important to understand that this is a country under occupation by Britain and as in any colonial situation the people have the right there to respond by all means necessary to that occupation.”
The spokesman went on to say no kind of Brexit deal would be acceptable to Irish Republicanism.
“Regardless of the form of occupation, whatever kind of border there is, be it soft or so called hard border -- that’s irrelevant. We are talking about an illegal occupation here. That means the IRA reserve the right to attack those who are upholding that illegal occupation along the border and elsewhere, and the illegal partition that goes with it, and those who are upholding that.”
“The EU and the British and the 26 County administration constantly speak about the border as if it has been there two minutes, and it’s only an issue with Brexit. There’s been a border since 1921. It has been resisted. It is being resisted. It will be resisted regardless of any deal formed around it.”
The spokesman was also asked about the peace process and the 1998 Good Friday peace deal which ended the armed struggle of the Provisional IRA.
“First off, the Good Friday Agreement is dead,” he said. “It was superseded by various other agreements such as the Leeds Castle, St Andrews, Hillsborough deals and others. So the Good Friday Agreement is defunct.
“Secondly the Good Friday Agreement was not ratified by the Irish people as a unit, as a whole, but by two separate questions depending on which statelet they lived in.”
The spokesman was asked if the new IRA “are on the wrong side of history”. He responded:
“On the contrary, we are not on the wrong side of history. No colony has ever secured its freedom without armed resistance. We have more support [in Ireland] than the Conservative Party, but they lord it over us. We also have more support in Ireland than the Labour Party does.”
Asked whether this comparison is bogus because those parties are based on the British “mainland”, the spokesperson said:
“Well this is the mainland of Ireland. The IRA is confident that it has popular support for its goal of a 32 County Irish Republic. The political parties you reference are silent about the armed activities of the state. For instance, the £25m HQ for MI5 at Palace Barracks.”
“There are 700 MI5 operatives in Belfast City alone. Every PSNI officer is armed with a Glock pistol or a Heckler and Koch rifle. Contrary to popular beliefm there are still thousands of British soldiers operating in the Six Counties. And there are also armed pro-British death squads operating under the flag of Loyalism.
“So therefore the IRA will take no lectures on morality, or the futility of violence from those who remain morally in favour, if not tactically.”
Asked why the new IRA felt it could succeed in achieving Irish unity when the Provisional movement had failed, he said:
“Republicanism has always gone through peaks and valleys and at this point we remain heavily organised, and to paraphrase a phrase of our enemy we are sophisticated and capable and showing increasing sophistication and ingenuity. But this is a period of consolidation and rebuilding.
“Rebuilding is important, but it’s crucial to realise it doesn’t reduce our operational capabilities.”