Gardaí hold 17 after Real IRA display

Thu, Sep 13, 2012, 01:00

Sixteen men and a woman have been arrested by gardaí in three counties today in an investigation into the activities of dissident republicans.

The raids at 30 locations in Dublin, Kildare and Meath follow a Real IRA display at the funeral of one of its key figures in the Republic.

A group of men dressed in combat gear fired a volley of shots over the coffin of murdered Alan Ryan on Saturday in Donaghmede, Dublin.

In today's raids, gardaí seized three imitation firearms, mobile phones and computers along with documentation, a Garda statement said. Those detained ranged in age from 16 to 60 years.

"They are currently detained at a number Garda stations in Dublin and Meath under section 30 of the Offences against the State Act,1939."

The investigation is ongoing and is being co-ordinated from the incident room at Clontarf Garda station.

"Gardaí continue to examine a number of lines of enquires and are fully committed to maintaining law and order and are resolute in their determination to fully investigate any breaches of the criminal law that occurred in Donaghmede, Dublin 13 on 8th of September," the statement added.

Fianna Fáil spokesman on justice Niall Collins welcomed today's arrests. “What we witnessed at the funeral of Alan Ryan last week was a sinister reminder of a negative strain of Irish life many thought had been consigned to the past,” he said in a statement.

Ryan was head of a Real IRA faction in Dublin and had been linked to extortion rackets. The 32-year-old was murdered in broad daylight when a gunman shot him several times in the grounds of an apartment complex in Clongriffin, north Dublin, on Monday, September 3rd.

Scores of dissident republican supporters attended the funeral in Dublin.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan later rejected criticism of his members for failing to intervene when shots were fired at the funeral.

Mr Callinan said it was not the case that dissident republicans had been allowed to act with impunity. The Garda had a proud track record in combating dissident republican activity, he said. He expressed disappointment that agreements made between the Garda and the organisers were not abided by.

Ryan's family issued a statement earlier this week saying his funeral was “a fitting tribute to the best ideals of republicanism”. They described him as “an active Irish republican” who was “proud to be known as such and we are proud of him for being one”.

Additional reporting: PA