Irish minister disgusted by Real IRA police threat
Ireland's foreign minister said Tuesday he was "absolutely disgusted" by a warning by a dissident Irish republican group that police in Northern Ireland were targets for execution.
Three weeks after a policeman was murdered in Northern Ireland, a masked member of the militant Real IRA group told a rally in Londonderry on Monday that police were "as liable for execution as anyone regardless of their religion, cultural background or motivation".
The threat was strongly condemned by both the Republic's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore and the Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.
Gilmore said the Real IRA's threat that it would attack anyone who joined the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), whether Catholic or nationalist, were words from another age.
"I am absolutely disgusted by it," he told reporters.
"The sight of somebody appearing in a mask and menacingly threatening Catholics who join the PSNI and nationalists who join the PSNI that they will be killed, threatening the governments and threatening the people of this country, that belongs to the past, and that is the past," Gilmore said.
McGuinness said it was obvious from the comments at the rally, to commemorate Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising against British rule, that the Real IRA saw everyone as the enemy.
"How do you bring about Irish unity without the support of the people of Ireland? That is the big question they need to answer," he told RTE state radio.
He said the group's objectives were to destroy the peace process, to break up the cross-community relationship in the Northern Ireland ruling executive and to turn back the clock on policing.
"All of those objectives are absolutely unachievable," McGuinness said.
The Real IRA also slammed the upcoming visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland, accusing her of "war crimes".
The queen's trip to Ireland on May 17-20 will be the first state visit by a British monarch since the republic gained independence in 1922.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the murder on April 2 of Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic police recruit, in a booby-trap bomb under his cac, but police suspect dissident republicans opposed to the peace process are to blame.
© 2011 AFP