Dissident republican mural and pro-IRA graffiti in Belfast condemned
A dissident republican mural and pro-IRA graffiti that has appeared in north Belfast has been condemned.
Over the weekend, a large mural was erected on a wall in the Ardoyne area by dissident republican party Saoradh.
It features images of masked gunmen and several historical republican figures, above the phrase "salute the men and women of violence".
The letters "IRA" are also painted beneath the mural, while the adjacent wall bears the words "JOIN SAORADH".
Saoradh have been linked to the dissident republican group the New IRA and described by the PSNI as the "voice" of the terror organisation.
A sign in the shape of a rifle and and the letters "IRA" have also appeared on a nearby lamppost.
DUP councillor Dale Pankhurst called for the mural and graffiti to be removed.
"It's an appalling mural for the simply reason that it not only glorifies historical republican violence, but the current wave of dissident republican terrorism we are seeing across Northern Ireland at the moment," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"This is a working class area and there are children walking past this mural. It's clearly being used an indoctrination tool for these groups to recruit young people into their ranks.
"It is also significant that the letters 'IRA' appear right next to the Saoradh mural, because this flies in the face of the claims by the Saoradh leadership that they are not connected to the New IRA.
"If anything, this actually backs up the PSNI's assessment that Saoradh are the voice of this republican terror group. I would call for this mural and graffiti to be removed immediately."
The New IRA have been responsible for several acts of terror in Northern Ireland this year. In April, they were responsible for the killing of Lyra McKee, who was shot dead as she observed rioting in the Creggan area on Londonderry.
They also claimed responsibility for the attempted murder of a police officer in Belfast in June, when a bomb was placed under his car. The bomb failed to detonate and the officer was unharmed.
Police also blamed the dissident group for a mortar bomb that was found pointed at a PSNI station in Strabane earlier this month. Again, the device did not fire.
An improvised explosive device was also recovered by police officers during follow-up searches in the Creggan area.
Last month, the chairman of Saoradh, Brian McKenna, stated that the continuation of violence in Northern Ireland is "inevitable".
Speaking to Sky News, he said young people in Ireland have always taken up arms and that this will continue.
"I believe that it's inevitable. It will always happen so long as the country is artificially divided and held by force of arms; people will always strike out against that occupation," he said.
"If young people in the six counties have been more politicised and in some sense radicalised by events of recent times, then what's wrong with that?" he
Belfast Telegraph Digital