Published Friday, 27 July 2012
According to the Guardian newspaper, Republican Action Against Drugs, the vigilante group which is most active in the Derry area, is to join with the Real IRA and other smaller groupings - but the Continuity IRA will not be joining.
A statement released to the media on Thursday night by a group calling themselves the army council of the IRA said that a number of organisations have joined a single leadership "subservient to the constitution of the Irish Republican Army".
They said the establishment of a 'free Ireland' had suffered setbacks due to failures in nationalist leaders and fractures in republicanism.
They also claimed "non-conformist republicans" are subjected to harassment and called for the removal of a "British military presence" and "political interference".
"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 statement read.
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson slammed the announcement from the dissident group as a publicity stunt.
Regardless of the brand of republicanism their terror is wrong and will not win. Northern Ireland is moving forward and no one wants to be dragged back to the dark days of the Troubles
"I know that those of all faiths and none have a united hope that Northern Ireland will continue to move forward and not be held back by terrorism," he added.
"The best way for this to be achieved is through everyone working with the police and volunteering information to ensure that anyone intent on harm can be removed from our streets."
Tom Elliott MLA, Ulster Unionist Party Justice spokesperson, said that the coalition is seeking new ways to obstruct democracy and wage more terror on the people of Northern Ireland.
"This latest attempt by dissident republicans to form yet another "new IRA" highlights the lengths they will go to in order to create destruction within our society.
"These people are failing to convince anyone that their backwards aims are better than peace and democracy that was hard won by the people of Northern Ireland."
Mr Elliott said the past attacks carried out by dissidents "are no alternative to a progressive society."
"The people of Northern Ireland want to live in a peaceful, democratic society; not one that is filled with terror."
Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast, says the merger will not achieve anything.
"The coming together of several dissident groups is not surprising given the fractious nature of those who are behind such groupings. They have over the past number of years come and gone, split and reformed on an ongoing basis."
He described the latest development as further evidence that they have "no strategy."
"There is no community support for these groups. They need to desist, and they need to realise that they cannot achieve a united Ireland in this way."
Mr Kelly said: "There is a political strategy in place which the vast majority of Irish republicans and nationalists, along with the overwhelming majority of the people on this island, have endorsed."
SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell said the terrorists had "no mandate, no legitimacy, no authority to undo the progress we have made together."
"These are people who would rather skulk in dark alleyways, shooting teenagers in the legs for anti-social behaviour than stand proud in an election count and wait for the people's voice to be heard through the ballot box," he added.
"These people do not represent me, my family, my party or my nation."
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