The internal battle between dissident terror gangs intensified yesterday as the Real IRA threatened to kill young nationalists who join the PSNI, and declared Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to the Republic an “insult”.
The renegades are now fighting a ‘media war’ in a bid to establish their group as the leading terror faction.
The Real IRA has slipped down in the pecking order over the past six months as the group styling itself as Oglaigh na hEireann is now regarded by the security forces on both sides of the border as posing the main terror threat.
And the murder of 25-year-old Catholic PSNI constable Ronan Kerr by a ‘freelance’ faction of former Provisional IRA activists, based in east Tyrone, has put further pressure on the two older groups, the RIRA and the Continuity IRA, to step up their campaigns of violence.
The ex-Provos, who are now known colloquially as the ET (east Tyrone) gang, put out a statement last week admitting responsibility for the young policeman’s murder in Omagh.
But the PSNI and the gardai were in no doubt within 24 hours of the blast that the ET mob were to blame for the attack.
The emergence of the ET gang was revealed in the Irish Independent last November when the group was considering forming an alliance with Oglaigh ha hEireann. The group has since decided to abandon that plan.
The chilling threat to nationalists was delivered yesterday when a masked RIRA man addressed the 32 County Sovereignty Movement 1916 commemoration at the Creggan Cemetery in Derry.
And in a warning ahead of the visit to Ireland next month of Queen Elizabeth, a masked member of the Derry branch of the RIRA said she was not wanted on Irish soil.
A police helicopter hovered overhead but no attempt was made to break up the gathering of several hundred people.
The masked speaker read out the statement to applause.
He called “on any young nationalist who may have been sold the lie that the RUC/PSNI is somehow a reformed, non-political police service to think again. Those who think they are serving their community are in fact serving the occupation and will be treated as such”, he said. “The GAA, Catholic Church and constitutional nationalism will be unable to protect those who turn traitor.
“They are as liable for execution as anyone else regardless of their religion, cultural background or motivation.”
He urged Irish people to “resist the visit of the queen to Ireland”.
“The queen of England is wanted for war crimes in Ireland and not wanted on Irish soil. We will do our best to ensure she and the gombeen class that act as her cheerleaders get that message,” he said.
The Real IRA said it wanted to state “clearly and unequivocally” that it wasn’t in any negotiations or dialogue with either the London or Dublin governments “or anyone that represents them”.
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