By Jack Holland
A high-ranking member of a republican splinter group is visiting the U.S. with a message to its supporters here that the day when the armed campaign will be renewed "is not too far away. The republican movement is being reorganized everywhere."
John Joe McCusker, a member of the Ard Comhairle of Republican Sinn Féin, was in New York this week, conveying a traditional republican message and dismissing rumors that his movement has merged with other dissident republicans. Recent press reports have been suggesting that the Continuity IRA, which is linked to Republican Sinn Féin, has been absorbed by the Real IRA, which is linked to the 32-County Sovereignty Committee. Both these movements reject the current peace process.
"The republican movement is intact," he said in an interview in Brooklyn on Sunday. "There is no coalition with other groups."
He also accused "imperialist forces" of "fudging CIRA’s position" with suggestions that many of its members have joined the RIRA. He claimed that only about two CIRA prisoners had joined the other group.
"We could not surrender the republican position to the 32-County [Sovereignty Committee]," he said, since they have recognized the Dáil, something which his movement rejects as part of the "partitionist settlement."
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McCusker said that "recruitment is going on" for his movement "but it is not being advertised." He would not be drawn on when a new armed campaign might arise.
"So long as the republican idea is kept alive, we can introduce a new life cycle," he asserted. "The current inactivity is part of a strategy."
McCusker said that he was not surprised by the mainstream Sinn Féin’s current policy.
"We predicted this from the 1986 walk-out," he claimed, referring to the split between Republican Sinn Féin and the Provisionals. "The Provisionals were ground down into accepting partition." Now, he claims, "they are defending it."