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).
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.
In July 2015, Police Service of Northern Ireland officers narrowly escaped harm when an explosive detonated as they were investigating a concealed device they later described as an "elaborate trap." In February 2016, CIRA claimed responsibility for a shooting at a boxing event in Dublin that left one dead. In June 2017, CIRA released a statement claiming that it would disband and decommission some of its arms in the following three months, describing the conflict as a "futile war."
Strength: Membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50. Police counterterrorism operations have reduced the group's strength.
Location/Area of Operation: CIRA operates in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Funding and External Aid: CIRA supports its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.