Belfast Telegraph

New dissident republican group will take encouragement from Gerry Adams justification of violence comments, says DUP MP

A DUP MP said a new dissident republican group threatening to attack police and drug dealers will take encouragement from recent comments by former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams who said violence can still be justified in achieving political means in certain circumstances.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said the group will have taken "succour from Gerry Adams’ words".

The former Sinn Fein leader was speaking to a German news organisation when he was asked if violence was a legitimate means to reach aims.

"I think in given circumstances. And the circumstances at that time in the north were that people were being denied their rights,” Mr Adams told Der Spiegel.

The new armed dissident republican group, calling itself the Irish Republican Movement (IRM), said they will "actively target crown forces" involved in policing republican commemorations.

The Irish News reported on Thursday the group is made up of former Oglaigh Na hEireann members disgruntled over its ceasefire declaration earlier this year. The group are understood to be based in Belfast and west Tyrone and have access to weapons.

DUP MP Gavin 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 Provisional IRA.

"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. In recent months Sinn Fein will criticise dissident republicans but in council motions fall in behind those who defend and justify dissident terrorism."

Mr Robinson continued: "Those pathetically posing with weapons in a bedroom today will fail in the same way those who engaged in terrorism previously failed. The current Sinn Fein leadership needs to step forward and be clear that they will not offer any comfort, cover or justification to these individuals."

In a statement released to the Irish News the group have said that "crown forces" involved in policing republican commemorations will be "actively targeted".

It comes after disturbances in Lurgan and Londonderry following Easter Commemorations earlier this month.

They also said that anyone who is involved in selling drugs within the nationalist community must stop immediately or "penalty is death".

The group have warned people involved in general criminality that they too will be at risk.

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