McKevitt launches attack on Sinn Féin following release from prison

McKevitt launches attack on Sinn Féin following release from prison

Former Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt launched a stinging attack Sinn Féin and questioned the party’s claim to be republican, as he was released from prison.

The Blackrock man’s 15 year sentence in Portlaoise Prison for directing terrorism and IRA membership came to an end on Easter Sunday and since then he has been in the media plenty having written a letter denying any involvement in the Omagh bombing in August 1998.

Now though McKevitt, who has been suffering from cancer, has taken aim at Sinn Féin, particularly in relation to their stance on the 1916 centenary celebrations.

He said: “When I look at Sinn Féin, I believe their behaviour is akin to that of the looters on the streets of Dublin in 1916.

“They have turned the centenary commemoration into a financial racket, exploiting it for all they can. Shameful is probably the best description that I can use,” he said.

McKevitt also refused to state that dissident republican paramilitaries should end their campaign of violence in the North.

In a statement, he said: “It is immaterial as to whether I agree or disagree – armed struggle or guerrilla warfare is a tactic which has been around for hundreds of years.

“Historically, the only form of resistance in Ireland that the British actually took notice of was armed struggle like they did in 1916 and in every decade since.”

As quarter-master general of the IRA, McKevitt broke away from the Provisionals to form the Real IRA in 1997 and become a high-profile opponent of the Adams-McGuinness leadership.

Speaking about the 1916 centenary, he claimed it had become popular “to be seen and heard rebel rousing” but that many of those involved had no right to do so.

“Political parties of all persuasions are tripping over themselves to commemorate the violent uprising of 1916. How can they, who have accepted the partition of Ireland, lay claim to the legacy of 1916?”

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