Unity statement by 'IRA Army Council'
27 July 2012Republican dissidents released a statement last night announcing merge of three organizations
The Real IRA and a number of breakaway IRA organisations, including Republican Action Against Drugs and Oglaigh na hEireann, have come together to issue the following public statement on Thursday night in the name of the IRA Army Council.
Three of the four main dissident republican groups in the North of Ireland are to merge and reclaim the banner of the IRA, in what is seen by main commentators as "an escalation of attempts to de-stabilise power sharing".
In a statement released to the Guardian, the new organisation claimed it had formed a "unified structure, under a single leadership". It said the organisation would be "subservient to the constitution of the Irish Republican Army".
This is the first time since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that a majority of the forces of dissident republicanism has coalesced.
Republican sources told the Guardian that the new paramilitary force included several hundred armed dissidents, including some former members of the now disbanded Provisional IRA who have been conducting a campaign of shooting and forcible exile of men in Derry City whom they accuse of drug dealing.
It also includes what the statement calls "non-conformist republicans", or smaller independent groups from Belfast and rural parts of Northern Ireland.
Republican Action Against Drugs and the Real IRA will cease to exist, one source close to the dissidents said to the Guardian.
Here is the text of the statement:
Following extensive consultations, Irish republicans and a number of organisations involved in armed actions against the armed forces of the British crown have come together within a unified structure, under a single leadership, subservient to the constitution of the Irish Republican Army.
The leadership of the Irish Republican Army remains committed to the full realisation of the ideals and principles enshrined in the Proclamation of 1916.
In recent years the establishment of a free and independent Ireland has suffered setbacks due to the failure among the leadership of Irish nationalism and fractures within republicanism. The root cause of conflict in our country is the subversion of the nation's inalienable right to self-determination and this has yet to be addressed. Instead the Irish people have been sold a phoney peace, rubber-stamped by a token legislature in Stormont.
Non-conformist republicans are being subjected to harassment, arrest and violence by the forces of the British crown; others have been interned on the direction of an English overlord. It is Britain, not the IRA, which has chosen provocation and conflict.
The IRA's mandate for armed struggle derives from Britain's denial of the fundamental right of the Irish people to national self-determination and sovereignty - so long as Britain persists in its denial of national and democratic rights in Ireland the IRA will have to continue to assert those rights.
The necessity of armed struggle in pursuit of Irish freedom can be avoided through the removal of the British military presence in our country, the dismantling of their armed militias and the declaration of an internationally observed timescale that details the dismantling of British political interference in our country.
Signed Army Council - IRA.
ANF / BELFAST
ANF NEWS AGENCY