IRISH men and women serving with Britain's armed forces have been warned of a sinister threat made against their lives by the Continuity IRA.
The British Ministry of Defence has confirmed to the Irish Independent that every Irish person serving with the army, navy and Royal Air Force (RAF) will be informed of the threat made by terrorists in Limerick earlier this week.
At a Sean South commemoration in Limerick city, a statement was read on behalf of Continuity IRA prisoners in Portlaoise prison, which said that Irish people who served with the British army were a "legitimate target" for the terrorists.
The chilling threat was read out at the Republican Plot at Mount Saint Lawrence cemetery last Sunday in front of 20 garda officers at an event organised by a faction within Republican Sinn Fein.
Last night, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said they were committed to protecting all Irish members in the British armed forces.
"All Irish personnel are being informed about this specific threat," the spokesman said.
"We condemn any threat of mindless violence against members of the British Armed Forces."
There are 400 Irish men and women serving with the British armed forces and all are being informed of the threats through internal communications.
Gardai are continuing to investigate the incident and the home of one man who attended the event was raided in the Corbally area of Limerick on Tuesday and documentation seized.
At the commemoration, a man – speaking on behalf of Continuity IRA prisoners – told the 60 people gathered at the cemetery that "we have seen from recent years that in this city of Limerick, that Irishmen are considering a career in the British army – the same British army that holds six of our counties.
"Whether they are motivated by financial reasons or a sense of adventurism, we take this opportunity to say that the moment you don a British uniform, you become a legitimate target for the IRA," he warned.
The threat was made after nine men wearing paramilitary uniforms marched through Limerick city centre with a piper to the grave of Sean South.
Investigating officers have since gathered recordings and photographs of Sunday's proceedings.
The warning comes less than a month after the Irish Independent revealed that gardai in Limerick had foiled a Continuity IRA plot to murder a British soldier on a visit home to the city over Christmas.
The young man, who is aged in his 20s, could not travel home to his family after gardai learnt that the Continuity IRA was intent on killing him.
Since last Sunday, a public spat has erupted between two factions who both claim the name 'Republican Sinn Fein'.
President of Republican Sinn Fein Des Dalton said those who took part in the commemoration where the threats were issued were dismissed from the organisation.
However, Joe Lynch from Limerick – who helped organise and took part in Sunday's event – rejected Mr Dalton's claims.
"They walked away from us two years ago and we carried on the traditions of Republican Sinn Fein and we hold that name," Mr Lynch said.