Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)

aka Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein

Description: Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on July 13, 2004, the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) is a terrorist splinter group that became operational in 1986 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein following its split from Sinn Fein. "Continuity" refers to the group's belief that it is carrying on the original goal of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), to force the British out of Northern Ireland. CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA). In 2012, CIRA released a statement claiming new leadership, after the previous leadership was ousted over allegations it was acting to the detriment of the organization.

Activities: CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion operations, 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 the September 2005 decommissioning and remains capable of effective, if sporadic, terrorist attacks.

In January 2013, the group claimed responsibility for firing shots at police officers in Drumbeg, Craigavon County, Northern Ireland. In March 2014, CIRA claimed an attempted bomb attack on the home and vehicle of a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer. In July 2015, PSNI officers narrowly escaped harm when an explosive detonated as police were investigating another concealed device that they later described as an "elaborate trap." In February 2016, CIRA claimed responsibility for a shooting at a boxing event at the Regency Hotel in Dublin that left one dead. Dublin police said the incident was related to a feud between criminal gangs.

Strength: Membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50. Police counterterrorism operations have reduced the group's strength.

Location/Area of Operation: Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Funding and External Aid: CIRA supports its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.


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