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Ex-Sinn Fein chief blasts IRA intimidation.

A former leader of Sinn Fein has protested at action by the IRA aimed at closing down the so-called Real IRA group responsible for the Omagh bombing which killed 28 people.

He accused the IRA, now on ceasefire, of operating like "poachers turned gamekeepers".

Mr Ruairi O Bradaigh, head of the Republican Sinn Fein party that split from the mainstream Sinn Fein-IRA alliance over their move into politics more than a decade ago, called the IRA move highly co-ordinated intimidation.

His comments followed confirmation that senior IRA figures had personally warned the Real IRA to disband within two weeks after threatening their members and supporters of their 32 Sovereignty Committee.

Mr O Bradaigh said: "Threats issued under pain of death were stated to have included warnings not to speak against the Stormont Agreement and to make amends within a fortnight. That this action in threatening people in their homes took place in many coun ties within an hour-and-a-half indicates the detailed and centralised planning involved.

"It is clearly Provisional policy to deny the right to freedom of speech and political expression.

"Coming on the day of Gerry Adams's soft-line statement, on the eve of repressive legislation being introduced in Westminster and Dublin, and 36 hours before President Clinton's visit, suggests action in concert on many fronts and a clear pattern of co-o rdination."

Mr O Bradaigh - whose party's reputed military wing, the Continuity IRA, have still to make any statement about their future activities - continued: "New British and Irish coercive measures are being supplemented by the actions on the ground of Provision al poachers turned gamekeepers."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 4, 1998
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