THE BBC JOURNALIST who took a statement from the Continuity IRA (CIRA) in which they claimed responsibility for last Friday’s shootings at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, has said that the organisation may have been looking for a “spectacular attack to announce themselves as being back on the stage”.
Vincent Kearney, the BBC’s Northern Ireland Home Affairs Correspondent, received the statement from CIRA verbally, “in the form of a source I would regard as credible”.
Speaking to the Moncrieff Show on Newstalk, Kearney said that the message he received was “unusual” in that the code word used was “not one which I have come across before”.
“The opening line of the statement given to me stressed that the CIRA has been retraining and rearming in recent years,” he said.
Clearly the message they are trying to send is that this (attack) is them coming back on the scene after periods of inactivity.
Kearney is of the opinion that the CIRA statement is an attempt on that group’s behalf to “set themselves up as the protectors of the people”.
“They were careful in their choice of language,” he said.
We know that the CIRA have been accused by the gardaí and the PSNI of being involved in a wide range of activities, including drug dealing.
“The timing begs questioning. Why wait four years? If there was a desire for retaliation they might have done so at an earlier point.”
It (the attack) might signify that they were looking for any kind of a hook for a spectacular attack to announce themselves back on the stage.
Earlier, the CIRA claimed responsibility for the shooting at the Regency Hotel on Dublin’s northside in which a man was killed and two others were injured.
David Byrne, an associate of the Kinahan crime gang was shot dead on Friday when a gang of six men stormed the Regency Hotel during a boxing weigh-in. Three of the men were dressed in Garda Emergency Response Unit uniforms and one was dressed as a woman.
In a statement to the BBC today, a man claiming to speak on behalf of the dissident republican organisation said its members were responsible.
He claimed Byrne was targeted because of his involvement in the killing of dissident republican Alan Ryan in 2012.
The BBC reports the man warned that further attacks were planned.
“This will not be an isolated incident,” he said. “Continuity IRA units have been authorised to carry out further operations. More drug dealers and criminals will be targeted.”
Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has described the men responsible for the shooting as “evil”.
She described it as an “audacious gang” which had acted that day in a “psychopathic, heinous way”.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, she said no efforts would be spared and that gardaí will be provided with all resources necessary to track down the gunmen.
Fitzgerald said the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan told her there was no operational intelligence to indicate this would happen.
“Criminals do not give advance notice.”
Let’s not forget that the people responsible for this are those evil men who walked into that hotel with machine guns to mow down people.
Additional reporting by Cianan Brennan
Originally published 12.40pm