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The RPG-7 launcher being sold by Whyte’s in Dublin may have been used by the IRA during the Troubles

The RPG-7 launcher being sold by Whyte’s in Dublin may have been used by the IRA during the Troubles

The RPG-7 launcher being sold by Whyte’s in Dublin may have been used by the IRA during the Troubles

The RPG-7 launcher being sold by Whyte’s in Dublin may have been used by the IRA during the Troubles

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The RPG-7 launcher being sold by Whyte’s in Dublin may have been used by the IRA during the Troubles

A Dublin auction house selling a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher which may have been used by the IRA during the Troubles has been accused of profiting from terror.

The RPG-7 is being exhibited as part of Whyte's eclectic collector sale on April 6 and comes with two inert rocket-propelled grenades, disabled booster rocket and accessories.

The catalogue of Lot 247 states that "the RPG-7 was used by the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1998" and even lists examples.

"Most notably in Lurgan, County Armagh, where it was used against British Army observation posts and the military base at Kitchen Hill in the town," it reads. "The IRA also used them in west Belfast against British Army armoured personnel carriers and Army forward operating bases (FOB)."

Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United expressed disgust that "tools of destruction" are being marketed as special edition items because of their use by terrorists.

"At best Whyte's is guilty of profiting from prejudice and at its worst it is an accessory to the selling of an armament which was used to wage terror against the people of Northern Ireland," he said.

Whyte's website also points out that the anti-tank weapons were commonly used to target troops on Beechmount Avenue in west Belfast, which became known as "RPG Avenue" as a result.

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The decommissioned Bulgarian-made launcher is estimated to be worth between €4,000 and €6,000 by the auction house.

However, similar weapons to those used in conflicts around the world since the 1960s sell for as little as £500.

One gun trader told this newspaper that RPG-7s have a value of between £500 and £1,000 and said the only justification for charging more would be if it was actually used in a historical context.

"You see it with any weapon, especially American guns which soar in value if you prove they were used in Vietnam," he said. "It's the same with any weapon but you have to be able to prove it, otherwise you are merely speculating."

Last night Ian Whyte, a director of Whyte's, said he has "no idea" if the weapon which came from "a well-known collector" was used by the IRA or not - he said the company makes no claim that it was.

"I understand that the Troubles are within living memory so people can be wary of items associated with it, but this is a piece of history," he added.

Mr Whyte did claim there was evidence it had been fired but no way to prove it was "in anger" as weapons are always test-fired.

Mr Donaldson also questioned why the IRA's "weapon of choice" has been valued so highly if there is nothing sinister about its past.

"Undoubtedly there is something very sinister in Whyte's marketing of the item," he said. "The product description is crass given the tool of death and destruction that the RPG-7 was in the context of this place."

The weapon was issued with a deactivation certificate by Birmingham Gun Barrel Proof House in 2013. A member of staff said there is no way to know if it was used in an attack.


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