Belfast Telegraph

Adams' justification of violence encouraged new dissidents, says DUP MP

By Claire Williamson

Gerry Adams' recent defence of armed struggle will give encouragement to a new dissident republican group that has vowed to "actively target Crown forces" involved in policing republican commemorations, a DUP MP has said.

The group calling itself the Irish Republican Movement (IRM) is made up of former members of Oglaigh Na hEireann, which declared a ceasefire earlier this year.

The IRM is understood to be based in Belfast and west Tyrone and has access to weapons.

In a statement to the Irish News, it said that "Crown forces" involved in policing republican commemorations would be "actively targeted".

It comes after disturbances in Lurgan and Londonderry following Easter Commemorations earlier this month. The IRM also said that anyone involved in selling drugs in nationalist areas should stop immediately, warning: "The penalty is death."

East Belfast DUP MP Gavin Robinson said former Sinn Fein president Mr Adams' recent words would "offer succour" to the group.

He was referring to an interview Mr Adams gave to German newspaper Der Spiegel, in which he said he believed the use of violence to meet political aims could be justified in certain circumstances.

The publication asked Mr Adams: "Is violence a legitimate means with which to reach one's aims?"

He replied: "I think in given circumstances. And the circumstances at that time in the North were that people were being denied their rights."

But Mr Robinson said: "When a group of violent dissident republicans pose with weapons and ammunition, they will have been aware of the words from Gerry Adams only a few days earlier.

"His provision of an excuse for terrorism can do nothing other than offer succour to those who seek to emulate the failed tactics and strategy of the PIRA.

"Michelle O'Neill's condemnation of petrol bombers on Easter Monday was welcome, but people are left questioning whether Gerry Adams' comments are designed to reassure the republican backwoods."

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly called on the group to "disband" and said there was "absolutely no place" for it.

"Instead of issuing threatening statements to newspapers, what they should be doing is getting off the stage and off the backs of the community," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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