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Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly calls on new dissident group to disband and 'get off the backs of the community'

The newly founded Irish Republican Movement have vowed to "execute" anyone believed to be involved in selling drugs
John Monaghan

SINN Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has urged a new dissident republican splinter group to disband and "get off the backs of the community".

The group, calling itself the Irish Republican Movement (IRM), yesterday threatened to "execute" anyone believed to be involved in selling drugs.

A picture emerged of a number of heavily armed men and a statement was passed to the Irish News on behalf of the group, which is believed to be made up of disaffected members of Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH).

In January ONH said it would "suspend all armed actions against the British state" with immediate effect.

The IRM has issued warnings to anyone involved in drugs, burglary or other criminality saying they should "be under no illusion" that they will follow through with their threat.

The group also said they will "actively target Crown Forces" involved in policing operations against republican commemorative events.

DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said that in "recent months Sinn Féin will criticise dissident republicans but in council motions fall in behind those who defend and justify dissident terrorism".

"Those pathetically posing with weapons in a bedroom will fail in the same way those who engaged in terrorism previously failed," he said.

"The current Sinn Féin leadership needs to step forward and be clear that they will not offer any comfort, cover or justification to these individuals."

Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly said there is "absolutely no place for this group".

"It seems this latest group has emerged from yet another split which is testament to the lack of any cohesion, strategy, support or credibility within dissident republican circles.

"Instead of issuing threatening statements to newspapers, what they should be doing is getting off the stage and off the backs of the community," said Mr Kelly.

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