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27 July 2012

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‘Dissidents' cannot achieve a united Ireland, says Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly

‘This move appears to be more to do with egos and personal fiefdoms than anything else’

SINN FÉIN MLA Gerry Kelly says the reported coming together of the ‘Real IRA’, RAAD and a number of other micro republican factions will not achieve anything and not a united Ireland.

“They have no strategy and their aims are as clear as mud,” the North Belfast Assembly member said.

Gerry Kelly is a former senior IRA activist. He was imprisoned in England in the mid-1970s and was force-fed while on a 60-day hunger strike campaigning for repatriation to Ireland. He was transferred in 1976.

He escaped from the H-Blocks of Long Kesh in 1983 during the mass break-out by 38 IRA prisoners. He was recaptured in Amsterdam three years later and extradited following a lengthy court battle. He was released from prison in 1989

Speaking today after a claim made public last night by the Ireland correspondent of England’s Guardian newspaper, Henry McDonald, that these tiny, fractious groups are trying to combine, Gerry Kelly said:

“This is further evidence that they have no strategy and their aims are as clear as mud. RAAD, for example, have claimed to be an anti-drugs group who have now joined a larger ‘dissident’ group with different aims. This move appears to be more to do with egos and personal fiefdoms than anything else.

“That is not to say that they cannot be dangerous,” Gerry Kelly cautioned.

“They have in the past killed people, the majority of whom have been from the nationalist community. However, these actions can take us nowhere.

"Meanwhile, they are happy to risk the lives and liberty of young, impressionable people to achieve nothing.

“There is no community support for these groups. They need to desist and they need to realise that they cannot achieve a united Ireland in this way.

“There is a political strategy in place which the vast majority of Irish republicans and nationalists, along with the overwhelming majority of the people on this island, have endorsed.”

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