Real Irish Republican Army

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The Real Irish Republican Army, otherwise known as the Real IRA (RIRA) and styling itself as Óglaigh na hÉireann (Volunteers of Ireland), is a paramilitary organisation which aims to bring about a united Ireland. Formed in 1997 following a split in the Provisional IRA, it is an illegal organisation in the Republic of Ireland and designated as a terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The organisation has been responsible for a number of bombings in Northern Ireland and England, most notably the 15 August 1998 Omagh bombing, which killed 29 people. On 7 March 2009 RIRA members claimed responsibility for an attack on the Massereene Barracks that killed two British soldiers, the first to be killed in Northern Ireland since 1997.

Contents

Origins

On 10 October 1997 a Provisional IRA General Army Convention was held in Falcarragh, County Donegal. At the convention Provisional IRA Quartermaster General Michael McKevitt, also a member of the 12-person Provisional IRA Executive, denounced the leadership and called for an end to the group's ceasefire and participation in the Northern Ireland peace process. He was backed by his common-law wife and fellow Executive member Bernadette Sands-McKevitt. The pair were outmanoeuvred by the leadership, and a key ally, Kevin McKenna, was voted off the Army Council leaving the pair isolated.[1][2] The convention backed the orthodox pro-ceasefire line, and on 26 October McKevitt and Sands-McKevitt resigned from the Executive along with several other members.[3]

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