“The IRA is not unwilling to talk, in fact there needs to be talks…”

The Guardian carries an exclusive front page interview with the Real IRA – “a series of written answers to the Guardian’s questions”, “the product of several months of contacts through intermediaries who contacted Real IRA members with a view to establishing a link.”

Henry McDonald responds to the ‘oxygen of publicity’ argument.

The Guardian article contains the Real IRA’s familiar defence of “‘punishment’ shootings and beatings of those they deem ‘antisocial elements’ in nationalist working class areas” – “a last resort to protect the community.”

And Garibaldy has some thoughts on the anti-capitalist rhetoric.

On more traditional ground the Guardian article relays

On the political front they dismissed Sinn Féin’s claims that its electoral strategy would ultimately yield a united Ireland despite the majority of nationalists in Northern Ireland still voting for Sinn Féin and an overwhelming majority backing the peace process.

The Real IRA insisted, however, that support for them was building and they had turned away hundreds of young disaffected nationalists because they didn’t have the capacity to absorb so many members.

“From the point of view of republican communities, there is still a heavily armed British police force that casually uses plastic baton rounds, CS gas and Tasers, carry out house raids, stop and search operations and general harassment.

“There’s still a 5,000-strong British army garrison, a new MI5 HQ in Belfast, and a British secretary of state. Republican communities are still subjected to sectarian parades and the right to protest is being met with intimidation and violence.”

And there’s a response to, Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness’ recent claims – made prior to popping off on “his August holidays”.

On the subject of recent reports of talks between dissident republicans and the Dublin and London governments the Real IRA said: “There are no talks with either the British government or the Free State Administration.

“The IRA is not unwilling to talk, in fact there needs to be talks … however, talks need to deal with the root cause of the conflict, namely the illegal British occupation of Ireland. We are mindful, though, that the history of such approaches from the British has been characterised by a lack of integrity, a lack of willingness to address the causes of conflict, and has been motivated by a self-serving agenda.” Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister and Sinn Féin MP, Martin McGuinness, also came in for strong criticism. The former chief-of-staff of the IRA and key Sinn Féin negotiator recently claimed that he had knowledge that dissidents were holding secret discussions with the two governments.

“Martin McGuinness is a British Crown minister who has a vested interest in causing mischief among republicans. His job is to administer the Queen of England’s writ in Ireland … However, if he has any evidence to back up his claims, he should make it public,” the Real IRA said.

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