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Dissidents 'not serious' — SF man

(William Scholes, Irish News)

A Sinn Féin councillor has said that dissident republican groups can not be taken seriously because they have "never killed a member of the Brit forces".

Cookstown councillor Michael McIvor said the strength of the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA had been "blown out of proportion" by the media and police.

Despite being responsible for a litany of killings and attacks, including the 1998 Real IRA bombing of Omagh which killed 29 people, Mr McIvor said the dissidents had been unsuccessful because they had "never caused British army deaths".

"Those were civilian targets. I don't think the Continuity have killed anyone in 20 years," he said.

The Provisional IRA, on the other hand, had killed many members of the British security forces, Mr McIvor said.

"The IRA did, naturally enough. That's just stating fact. There's no point telling lies about it."

Describing the Continuity IRA and Real IRA as "Brit loving", Mr McIvor said there was "no comparison" between them and the Provisional IRA.

"They have no support on the ground. If they are so strong, how come there is no dead enemies?" he said.

"Commentators love to come on the news and run down Sinn Féin and the movement.

"The IRA always wanted peace. That's why I supported the movement."

Mr McIvor said the dissident republican groups were not "hardline".

"The PSNI and those sections of the media who call the dissidents hardline refuse to tell the Irish people why the Continuity or Real have never killed a member of the Brit forces," he said.

"It is far more important to get some angle against Sinn Féin than to let the truth be known."

June 29, 2006

This article appeared first in the June 28, 2006 edition of the Irish News.

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