Dissident group says killed Northern Irish prison officer

BELFAST Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:19am EST

Related Topics

BELFAST (Reuters) - A group of militant Irish nationalists said it shot dead a Northern Irish prison officer as he drove to work earlier this month, and linked the attack to a dispute over prison conditions.

Belfast-based newspaper The Irish News on Monday said it had received a statement claiming responsibility for the shooting from the IRA, a coalition of dissident groups formed earlier this year.

The group says it is the successor of the much larger Provisional IRA, which fought British forces in the 1970s and 1980s but disbanded after the 1998 Good Friday peace deal. The provisional IRA sprang from the IRA, which took part in Ireland's war of independence from Britain.

The Good Friday pact largely ended three decades of sectarian conflict between Protestants loyal to British rule and mostly Roman Catholic nationalists who want to unite with the southern Irish republic, but dissident militants continue to target the security forces.

The murder of David Black, who worked at the top security Maghaberry Jail, was the first killing of a prison officer in Northern Ireland in almost 20 years and the fifth fatal attack on a member of the security establishment since 1998.

"An active service unit of the IRA executed prison guard David Black," the IRA statement said.

"While the IRA never takes this type of action lightly, the IRA has a responsibility to protect and defend Republican POWs."

The statement said the killing was a direct response to what it said was the "degradation" of Republican prisoners at Maghaberry, where militant nationalists have been protesting against their living conditions and strip-searches.

Four men have been arrested by police in connection with the murder, but all have been released without charge.

(Reporting by Ian Graham and Conor Humphries; editing by Keiron Henderson)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
DeanMJackson wrote:
The article reads, “A group of militant Irish nationalists said it shot dead a Northern Irish prison officer as he drove to work earlier this month, and linked the attack to a dispute over prison conditions.”

Firstly, any “dissident” group would have to live in the Catholic area of Northern Ireland, and would be identified and neutralized by the provisional IRA before becoming operational. Secondly, the provisional IRA sprang up inexplicably right after the emergence of the Catholic Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, just in time to sabotage and destroy that movement.

Conclusion: As in other cases of “terrorist” actions in Western Europe during the 1970s and 1980s, which were linked to right wing clandestine “stay behind” paramilitary units of NATO’s GLADIO operation, we now know that the provisional IRA is a creation of the British Security Services.

The irony here is that Sinn Fein, the political wing of the provisional IRA, has members in the government of the Republic of Ireland. Michael Collins is surly snickering at Britain’s attempt at re-Union “by other means” with the southern Republic!

Nov 12, 2012 7:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
Yesyes wrote:
@DeanMJackson As idiotic statements go, this one really deserves a medal. Where to even begin? Firstly the IRA existed long before the 1960s and had been largely inactive until AFTER the civil rights movement was sabotaged by the British army and loyalist militants, hence why after the bloody sunday atrocity you would regularly see IRA=I Ran Away graffiti all over the place. Secondly, notwithstanding the thousands of British citizens killed by the IRA, they have assassinated members of both the British government and the British royal family. Thirdly, why would British security services support an anti-British terrorist organisation when there were a number of pro-British terrorist groups who they WERE colluding with? (The UVF, UFF, LVF, UDA. It would surprise me if you’ve even heard of them). They also received much of their weapons from Colonel Gadaffi, not exactly a friend of the British government at the time. By the way, Michael Collins was both a member of Sinn Fein and the IRA, so I fail to see the “irony” of them being in the Dail.

As to your belief that dissident factions couldn’t exist in Northern Ireland, the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA are both splinter groups led by former IRA members who wouldn’t sign up to the Good Friday Agreement, as they felt it compromised too much of their goals, and also as it would mean they would have to give up their weapons and their criminal activities (both groups are largely drugs gangs with political overtones), and some young people in marginalised communities prefer to join these groups as they have the guns. There is no single “Catholic Area” under IRA control as you seem to think, but a myriad of communities dotted across the land. They also operate south of the border.

Please stop lecturing people on subjects you clearly know nothing about. It not only shows you to be highly ignorant and arrogant, but is also very insulting to those who have been killed by the IRA and other extremists in Northern Ireland. If you had ever been there you might realise just how stupid and nonsensical your comments are. Judging by your comments however, it would very much surprise me if you’ve ever been outside your own country, or even leave your house on a regular basis. You should try getting out and seeing the world, rather than reading about it in some cheap conspiracy theory book

Nov 13, 2012 8:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.