Northern Ireland news

Continuity IRA 'patrol' roads in rural Fermanagh

Armed and masked members of the CIRA at Wattle Bridge in Co Fermanagh

MASKED and armed men have been pictured 'patrolling' roads in rural Fermanagh and firing shots in a cemetery.

The sinister pictures of members of the Continuity IRA are thought to have been taken over the weekend.

They show two masked men, armed with handguns, walking along a rural stretch of road near Wattle Bridge, close to the border with Monaghan and Cavan.

The images are thought to have been taken close to where a bomb exploded last August, almost killing members of the PSNI who were searching the area at the time.

A large PSNI presence had been on the ground after receiving a report claiming that a device had been left on the Wattle Bridge Road.

Police said at the time they believed that a hoax device had been used to lure police and army bomb disposal officers into the area before detonating a real bomb.

It exploded just feet away from a number of police officers.

The CIRA claimed responsibility.

The organisation has been recruiting and regrouping in the Fermanagh area and a statement with the pictures claimed it shows "the CIRA can operate at any time day or night in south Fermanagh".

The men also fired shots in Galloon graveyard near Wattle Bridge.

First Minister Arlene Foster last night condemned the actions of the dissident republican organisation, saying "There is no place for any form of terrorism or paramilitary group in our society.

"It was never acceptable or justified in the past and neither is it today."

The Fermanagh MLA added: "The last number of weeks has seen people come together and demonstrated the very best of our society through the community response to the Covid outbreak.

"Those who would seek to bring violence onto our streets are a throwback to an age everyone wants to consign to history.

"The people of Fermanagh do not want such thugs patrolling our roads. Following the disgraceful attack on Kevin Lunney, the community made clear its revulsion for those involved.

"I would hope that anyone with information about who might be involved will ensure the police can apprehend these individuals and ensure they are brought to justice."

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