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Hardline republican group to step up 'process of modernisation'

The aftermath of an ONH bomb outside a PSNI station in Derry in 2012
Connla Young

A hardline republican party which previously indicated a possible end to Óglaigh na hÉireann's paramilitary campaign has said it is stepping up its “process of modernisation”.

Prominent north Belfast republican Ta Cosgrove made the comments at a Republican Network for Unity (RNU) commemoration last weekend.

The party is viewed as the political wing of Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH), which earlier this year said it is engaged in a “wide ranging discussion about tactics, strategy and the future of the republican struggle”.

Sources close to the organisation said that while no announcement has been made, it is currently on a “de facto ceasefire” while internal discussions take place.

ONH emerged from a split within the Real IRA around a decade ago.

It is believed the last significant attack carried out by the group was in January when a roadside bomb left for the PSNI in Poleglass, on the outskirts of west Belfast, was defused by the British army.

The comments from ONH followed an earlier statement from RNU signalling a shift in strategy, which was read out at an Easter commemoration in north Belfast.

It is understood several people have resigned from the party since then.

Mr Cosgrove, who is a former republican prisoner, spoke at a commemoration to mark the 60th anniversary of five republicans killed in a premature explosion at Edentubber, Co Louth in 1957.

He said the “RNU family” has continued to debate “both internally and with our critical friends” and “the future of our movement has been the subject of intense activity”.

The movement, he said, has assessed its “strengths and weaknesses” and recognises “that we must move forward now - procrastinate any longer will only lead to division and uncertainty”.

“The coming weeks and months will see a gear change in our process of modernisation that was spoke of at Easter.

“Today we ask you here, and members and supporters unable to attend and to the wider republican base, to begin with us the debate around a republican movement that is credible, realistic and modern.

“In time those determined to advance the revolutionary republican position will attest to our reshaped movement and renewed direction.”

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