The Irish Times were told that although the CIRA army council has plans for a sustained campaign of violence they are currently building up their paramilitary strength. However they said that they would “take opportunities when they presented themselves.”
The CIRA still consider Northern Ireland police (PSNI) and members of British security forces as “legitimate targets.” The group was founded in 1994 and last year they were responsible for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll.
They said “We intend to consolidate as a new guerrilla movement, we intend to recruit, to train and to equip for a long struggle.”
The Irish Times was given the opportunity to interview four members of the organization.
A senior figure from Sinn Fein said “We would see them [the purported new leadership] as just another splinter group that has broken away.”
However, the four CIRA members who interviewed said their members rejected the “old guard”. They said they were “tired, weary, old men who are refusing to hand over the reins”. It is a takeover of the movement by the volunteers. It is a takeover of the military end of things.”
During the interview one of the spokespersons for the CIRA claimed that the Real IRA was “running down” the CIRA. They said “They are not providing the volunteers with the required materials for them to do their job.”
The four spokespersons spoke of the “extraordinary army convention” which took place in Bettystown, County Meath, at the beginning of the summer. The meeting addressed issues such as the allegation that £20,000 was siphoned off by a republican figure in Belfast.
Those interviewed said that the new leadership represents the 150 to 200 members. They also said that there are now more Northern volunteers on the “army council”. Before only two of the seven were from Northern Ireland.
The new 12-member ruling executive was unanimously voted in by the members at the convention.