Northern Ireland

Dissident republicans urged to pursue ‘political means’ after New IRA statement

Call comes as New IRA pledges to continue armed campaign

The New IRA has said it will continue its armed campaign
The New IRA has said it will continue its armed campaign

Militant republicans have been urged to follow “political means " after the New IRA pledged to continue its armed campaign in an Easter statement.

The anti-agreement paramilitary group also claimed it is continuing to recruit new members.

The organisation was responsible for shooting and seriously injuring senior PSNI officer John Caldwell near Omagh last year

The annual Easter statement, which was signed T O’Neill, said the “IRA continues to exist train and advance in all of its military capabilities as well as “to recruit and produce volunteers dedicated and brave enough to carry out military operations when instructed and without hesitation”.

It also claims that it continues to “set up” attacks in the north despite heavy state surveillance on both sides of the border.

“Despite the on-going surveillance from crown forces and their collaborators in the Free State we have been able to set up multiple, potentially fatal operations on crown force personnel and only due to civilians in the area we decided to cease operations,” it said.

The paramilitary group also issued a direct threat.

“We conclude with this final message to the crown,” the statement said.

“As long as we remain occupied our intentions remain clear.

“We will continue to target your forces and your installations where and when we chose.

“We will settle for a 32-county republic and nothing else.”

SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan urged groups to reconsider the use of violence.

“I just think it’s depressing and I would appeal to people who want to go down this road of violence or see as the optimum means of achieving unity, it’s the opposite, rather than the optimum,” he said.

SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan welcomed clarification over when the report would be published
SDLP Policing Board member Mark H Durkan (Liam McBurney/PA)

“History has shown us that and now it’s fairly clear we are on the democratic and peaceful path to unification that many of us espoused to long ago, others have caught up, but obviously there are people who have not got that message yet.”

Mr Durkan said armed groups have no support.

“I don’t know who can support some of their actions,” he said.

Mr Durkan said there is an onus to “show that politics work”.

“No just in terms of delivering peace but in terms of delivering prosperity

“These people don’t even have an aspiration to do that, they just want to wage war.

“I would appeal to follow political means to pursue their agenda and there’s plenty of room for them to do so.

“They would be more than welcome. I don’t doubt they have some valid points to make.”