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The so-called Real IRA (RIRA) has been in existence since 1997. Its core membership consists of former members of the Provisional IRA (PIRA) who were opposed to some aspects of the Anglo-Irish peace process. That was then. Twelve years later – eleven years after the botched RIRA bomb attack that killed 29 innocent civilians in Omagh in Co. Tyrone – the RIRA along with the Continuity IRA (CIRA) consist of a nucleus of hardened criminals whose ‘Republican’ pretensions are in the main a front for organised crime in the border area and in some inner city areas north and south of the border. Whilst there are a small number of Republican political ‘die-hards’ within the RIRA and CIRA – who would claim that a ‘sovereign united 32 county Ireland’ is their ultimate objective - intelligence sources both north and south of the border believe that the foot-soldiers in these organisations are being manipulated in order to further the interests of organised crime within Ireland.
Clonan, T., 2009: Dissident Republicans Addicted To Criminality, Dublin: The Irish Times.