Continuity IRA ‘to end armed campaign’, statement claims

Some scepticism about comments as group has split into several factions in recent years

The Continuity IRA  said  a ‘small amount of arms and explosive material’ it possessed would be decommissioned. Photograph: PA.

The Continuity IRA said a ‘small amount of arms and explosive material’ it possessed would be decommissioned. Photograph: PA.

 

A group saying it represents the leadership of the Continuity IRA has stated it is to end its armed campaign.

In a statement to the Limerick Leader on Thursday, which included a recognised code word, the group said it would disband over the next three months. It said the decision was taken in recent weeks.

“After meeting with our membership throughout the 32 counties it was decided that the opportunity now exists for the attainment of our political goals by abandoning the armed struggle,” it said.

There will be some scepticism about the decision, however, as over recent years the Continuity IRA has split into at least three different factions.

One dissident source said the group that issued the statement was likely to be solely reflecting the viewpoint of elements of the Continuity IRA based in Limerick rather than the broader membership in the rest of the country.

The source also queried whether the statement was linked to a forthcoming court case in Northern Ireland where several alleged Continuity IRA members, some from the Republic, are charged with dissident terrorist offences.

This relates to the arrest in 2014 of 12 alleged Continuity IRA members in Newry in an operation driven by MI5.

In the statement, the group said that a “small amount of arms and explosive material” it possessed would be decommissioned “under agreed procedures” over the coming months.

“We would like to thank both other republicans and members of the clergy for their great assistance in guiding us in this decision,” the group added.

“We know the great hurt and pain we have inflicted on communities both North and South and for that we offer our sincerest apology and hope by this action no more pain or loss will visit them,” it said.

The statement concluded by appealing to former Continuity IRA members and supporters to discontinue with what it described as a “a futile war”.