Attempts are being made to engineer further division among republicans after bogus claims emerged that the New IRA is planning to attack members of Sinn Féin.
Saoradh was forced to issue a statement to rubbish suggestions that the New IRA was about to ‘place a bomb’ under a Sinn Féin member’s car.
Earlier this week Sinn Féin deputy first minister Michelle O’Neill said she and party colleague Gerry Kelly had been told of such a possibility by the PSNI. The alleged ‘warning’ came after they attended a recruitment launch for the police force earlier this month. The claim was then supposedly extended to include all Sinn Féin members.
The deputy first minister said she had been told in a New IRA attack could take place against the party “anywhere in the north”. She condemned it as disgraceful.
“This is literally a threat against thousands of Sinn Féin members and their families,” she said. “This latest threat shows once again that these groups are in conflict with their own community. This armed group must withdraw its threat immediately. There is no room for the existence of armed groups. They should disband.”
In a statement in response, Saoradh described the threats as “phantom” and said they were an effort to bolster support for Sinn Féin in the wake of the controversy over their heightened support for the PSNI.
The idea of an impending bomb attack was being used by Sinn Féin to “distract and deflect from policy changes, the abandonment of ideological principle and political mistakes and miscalculations,” they said.
They also alleged similar claims had been used by SF to “galvanise their membership” and “garner sympathy” particularly at election time.
Saoradh National Executive member Alan Lundy, whose own father was a Sinn Féin member and IRA Volunteer killed by a loyalist death squad in 1993, said: “These threats are non-existent and totally bogus. It is quite clear to anyone with an ounce of sense that they have been collectively manufactured by the MI5-directed PSNI and Sinn Féin.”
The claims could be part of a British ‘Dirty Tricks’ effort: psychological operations intended to promote division. An attack this week on the home of a brother of assassinated defence lawyer Pat Finucane, in which a window was broken and a device was found outside, fits into that scenario.
The family of Martin Finucane said it was “in the dark” as to why he was targeted at his west Belfast home. Mr Finucane described the device as having batteries and nails and was found on the window sill of the house. There was also a flammable cloth and gas cylinders found.
Similar devices found at the offices of Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly and outside the Holy Cross school in north Belfast last week, which the PSNI blamed on loyalists.
Nevertheless, there were more false claims in the mainstream media that a republican feud is behind the latest incident. The Finucane family, who command great respect among nationalists and republicans, said they themselves were confused.
The idea that they would come under attack within their own community was greeted with widespread disbelief. Sinn Féin’s North Belfast MP John Finucane said there was “no understanding” of why he was targeted.
“It’s obviously something you should not have to deal with, but thankfully it’s not as bad as it could have been if the device had ignited, or got into the house,” said Mr Finucane, Martin Finucane’s nephew.
“He’s okay in the circumstances. He was in the house with his son, so obviously he’s looking at a situation whereby it could have been serious damage to house, and also to himself and his son.
“There’s a sense of confusion as well. There’s no understanding at all as to why my uncle’s house was targeted.
“He’s made very clear that the people who carried out the attack should make sure that it is the last house that is attacked. That’s there’s no support for it, there’s no room for that in this society.”