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Continuity Irish Republican Army

Definition/Scope: (DoS) The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) is also known as Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein. The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) is a splinter group formed in 1994 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein, which split from Sinn Fein in 1986. "Continuity" refers to the group's belief that it is carrying on the original Irish Republican Army's (IRA) goal of forcing the British out of Northern Ireland. CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA). The CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion, and robberies. On occasion, it has provided advance warning to police of its attacks. Targets have included the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups. CIRA did not join the Provisional IRA in its September 2005 decommissioning and remained capable of effective, if sporadic, terrorist attacks. In late 2006, CIRA members issued a list of up to 20 individuals they were targeting for paramilitary attacks, several of whom were wounded in subsequent shootings. In early 2006, the Independent Monitoring Commission reported that two splinter organizations, Óglaigh na hÉireann and Saoirse na hÉireann, were formed due to internal disputes within CIRA. In mid-October 2006, CIRA claimed the firebomb attacks of B&Q home-supply stores. CIRA activity has largely decreased from previous levels seen in 2005 and by 2007, the group had become increasingly active in criminal activity. In April, following the discovery of an improvised mortar adjacent to the railway line in Lurgan, three cira members were arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder, possession of explosives with intent to endanger life, and possession of articles for use in terrorism. Their current membership is believed to be small, with possibly fewer than 50 hard-core activists. Continued police counterterrorist operations have reduced the group's strength. They are working in the areas of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. CIRA does not have an established presence in Great Britain.



Broader Terms:

foreign terrorist organization
Northern Ireland
US European Command, Combatant Command, AOR/Unified

Narrower Terms:

paramilitary forces

Related Terms:

Irish Republican Army

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