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Fears grow of increased Real IRA drugs war

Published 10/02/2010

Gardai are cracking down on suspected dissident republicans in the Republic as fears grow of a turf war between the Real IRA and drug gangs.

The Garda move has targeted specific areas of Cork city and county and came less than a fortnight after the Real IRA claimed it was behind the execution-style shooting of convicted drug dealer Ger Stanton (42).

From 7am yesterday, teams of gardai conducted carefully planned raids and searches on homes, business premises and storage sheds at a number of locations in Cork city and the north of the county.

Sixty uniformed officers were involved in the raids which were co-ordinated by Garda intelligence on suspected dissident republicans and their supporters.

A number of premises associated with suspected drug gang leaders were also targeted.

It is understood that gardai made a number of seizures, including documentation, leaflets and military-style publicity material.

Gardai also seized a sum of cash, several imitation firearms and a small quantity of drugs.

No-one was arrested during the course of the operation but gardai refused to rule out arrests at a future date.

The documents seized will now be thoroughly examined by Irish detectives though it remains unclear what action, if any, will now follow.

A senior Garda source said the operation was prompted by concerns that dissident republicans have been making determined efforts to broaden their support base in the Cork area — and that elements of the Real IRA have been trying to bring ‘turf' under their control in both Dublin and Cork to boost their income.

The raid came just 72 hours after the 32 County Sovereignty Movement distributed leaflets in some Cork pubs warning that drug dealers were now being targeted in the area.

The leaflet — which featured a classic paramilitary propaganda design — bluntly warned that drug dealers who refused to desist from their operations would now face being dealt with by “judge and executioner” if necessary.

However, gardai have “serious doubts” over the Real IRA claim that they were behind the shooting of Ger Stanton on January 20 last in Wilton, Cork.

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