08 October 2005

Armagh Real IRA and CIRA in merger plan

Daily Ireland

**Via News Hound

Ciarán Barnes

RSF denies crisis in its organisation after split

Continuity IRA (CIRA) units in Co Limerick are planning to merge with the Real IRA in south Armagh, Daily Ireland has learned.
In recent weeks leading CIRA members in Limerick have visited Real IRA leader Liam Campbell in Portlaoise prison with a view to linking up with his south Armagh unit.
The move comes in the wake of the CIRA split following the decision by its nine prisoners in Portlaoise to quit the organisation. The inmates left after a dispute with the CIRA in Limerick.
The prisoners accused the Limerick unit of withholding support funds from their families, while those in Limerick claimed the inmates were taking drugs and associating with criminals.
The mass resignation has left the CIRA and its political wing Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) in disarray, with two camps emerging – one in support of the prisoners and the other supporting the Limerick unit and RSF.
In a bid to strengthen their position, CIRA members in Limerick have been in negotiations with the Real IRA about a merger.
One former CIRA member told Daily Ireland the organisation was “hopelessly fractured”.
He said: “The Belfast brigade was stood down two months ago. They were useless, they kept on losing weapons. A couple of weeks ago the officer commanding in Dublin was stood down because he supported the prisoners in Portlaoise. He was ‘arrested’ by CIRA members in Bundoran, Co Donegal, and relieved of his rank.
“The Continuity IRA is in turmoil. There are volunteers in the North who want to carry on the war, but the organisation is controlled by armchair generals in Limerick and Fermanagh. They don’t have a clue.”
The dissident republican source said the planned merger between the Limerick CIRA and the south Armagh Real IRA was a bid by the Limerick units to retain control of the organisation.
He added: “They have been frightened by the walk-outs and resignations.
“Publicly they are saying everything is fine but privately they will admit things are very bad and that’s why they want to merge with the Real IRA.”
In a statement to Daily Ireland earlier in the week Republican Sinn Féin admitted a number of members had resgined, but denied there was a crisis in the organisation.
A spokesman said a campaign of spreading unfounded rumours about RSF was taking place.

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