N. Ireland dissidents threaten attacks on bankers: report

15th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A dissident republican terror group in Northern Ireland threatened Wednesday to target banks and bankers as it seeks to destabilise the peace process, in comments to a newspaper.

The Real IRA launched a tirade at financial institutions in Britain's "colonial and capitalist" system which it accused of leaving millions of victims, in remarks to Britain's Guardian daily.

The threat is the latest attempt by the group, that formed after breaking away from the Provisional IRA when the latter was engaging in peace talks, to undermine British rule of the province.

"We have a track record of attacking high-profile economic targets and financial institutions such as the City of London," said the group's leaders in a series of written responses to the paper.

"The role of bankers and the institutions they serve in financing Britain's colonial and capitalist system has not gone unnoticed.

"Let's not forget that the bankers are the next-door neighbours of the politicians.

"Most people can see the picture: the bankers grease the politicians' palms, the politicians bail out the bankers with public funds, the bankers pay themselves fat bonuses and loan the money back to the public with interest."

They added: "It's essentially a crime spree that benefits a social elite at the expense of many millions of victims."

But security sources in the British province cited in the paper played down the threat.

They stressed that the Real IRA lacks the logistical resources of the Provisional IRA to carry out a bombing campaign similar to the ones that hit the City of London in the early 1990s.

The group has just 100 activists, according to the Guardian.

But its leaders insisted they were confident of increasing "the volume and effectiveness of attacks."

The Real IRA, which formed in 1997, last year claimed to be behind the murder of two British soldiers who were shot dead.

The group is opposed to the peace process which led to the creation of a devolved Northern Irish executive in which republican and pro-British unionist former foes share power.

A 1998 peace agreement largely ended three decades of conflict by groups fighting for and against British rule of the province, although sporadic attacks continue.

© 2010 AFP

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