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IRA dissidents burgeon, youth wing now set up

A YOUTH wing of the Real IRA has re-established itself -- to recruit and train teenagers as young as 13 to be Republican dissidents.

The organisation, calling itself "Fianna Eireann", is reportedly relaunching having been defunct in recent years.

In an anonymous letter sent to the Herald it is claimed that the group "supports the military cause of the Real IRA", and also pledges support for the RIRA's political wing, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

The letter also claims that the group supports "force of arms" for a "British withdrawal from the island of Ireland".

Fianna Eireann was last active in 2004, but has been regarded as a defunct organisation since then.



brigades

It claims to have a military-type structure, with "brigades" bases in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. "All recruits will undergo eight weeks training, the letter claims.

An image, apparently depicting Fianna Eireann members on parade, was also sent to this newspaper. The communication states that a "provisional committee" has been formed and that recruitment of volunteers has started.

The letter states volunteers as young as 13 will be considered for the group's "junior" wing.

It is unclear whether Fianna Eireann is a proscribed organisation here. It was previously reformed in 2004 but no one has been convicted of membership of the group.

However, section 21 of the Offences Against the State Act bans anyone from being a member of "an unlawful organisation", and Real IRA members have been successfully prosecuted under this law.

Fianna Eireann's support for the RIRA is likely to leave members open to prosecution.



terrorist

Both the 32 CSM and the RIRA are also designated as "foreign terrorist organisations" in the United States.

When it was established in 2004 the organisation handed out leaflets in Belfast to recruit and also tried to lure members through social networking sites on the internet.

Responding to the letter a garda source told the Herald: "Any organisation which professes support for dissident Republicanism or organised violence of any kind will be fully investigated."

clooney@herald.ie


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