Doubts cast on Continuity IRA’s claims of responsibility for Friday’s gang member shooting
Irish security sources have expressed their doubts over a claim by the Continuity IRA that it had carried out the attack on a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel on Friday. Gang member David Byrne was shot dead and two others were injured in the carefully planned attack at the Regency hotel. The attack was carried out by six gunmen, one dressed as a woman.
Irish security sources have expressed their doubts over a claim by the Continuity IRA that it had carried out the attack on a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel on Friday.The BBC reports that gang member David Byrne was shot dead and two others were injured in the carefully planned attack at the Regency hotel. The attack was carried out by six gunmen, one dressed as a woman.
In a coded statement to the BBC in Belfast, a man claiming to speak on behalf of the Continuity IRA said it had targeted Byrne and that the group would continue to go after “drug dealers and criminals.”
The BBC notes that the man’s statement claimed Byrne was shot dead because he had been involved in the killing of Alan Ryan in Dublin four years ago. Ryan was a leading member of another dissident republican group, the Real IRA.
“Although [Ryan] was not a member of our organization, we are not going to stand back and allow drug dealers and criminals to target republicans,” the statement said. “This will not be an isolated incident. Continuity IRAunits have been authorized to carry out further operations. More drug dealers and criminals will be targeted. The Continuity IRA will carry out further military operations.”
Dublin security sources the attack was a criminal skirmish not motivated by politics. The sources said they believe Friday’s attack was part of an ongoing feud between the Costa del Sol-based Irish gangster Christy Kinahan and his rival, the north Dublin criminal known as The Monk.
One source told the BBC that the CIRA statement may have aimed to “muddy the waters and sow confusion.”
The CIRA is one of three armed republican paramilitary groups opposing the Northern Ireland peace process. CIRA was created as a result of the 1986 split within the Irish republican movement.
The BBC notes that Continuity IRA is the smallest but also the most ideologically pure of the three rejectionist groups. It was responsible for the 2009 killing of the Police Service of Northern Ireland constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon, County Armagh.
To thwart acts of retaliation for Friday’s fatal shooting, the Garda Síochána have erected armed checkpoints at major routes into Dublin.
Among the attackers who killed Byrne on Friday were gunmen carrying AK47 Kalashnikov rifles, which were the standard-issue weapon of republican paramilitary groups in Ireland. Recent years saw growing crossover between armed republican factions and Dublin-based crime gangs in terms of sharing weapons and targeting rivals.
Thus, in 1994 the Provisional IRA took responsibility for shooting the criminal Martin “The General” Cahill. The gunman who killed him, however, was a member of the rival Irish National Liberation Army who was paid about 30,000 Irish punts to take out The General on the orders of another Dublin gangster.