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CONTINUITY IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY
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 formed in 1994 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein; it 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).
In 2012, CIRA released a statement claiming it had new leadership, after previous leadership was ousted over allegations that 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, and robberies. On occasion, it 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 remained capable of effective, if sporadic, terrorist attacks. On April 21, 2011, authorities defused an explosive device planted by CIRA near a statue of the Duke of Wellington in Trim, Meath, Ireland.
In December 2012, a plot by CIRA to murder an Irish national serving in the British army was foiled by Irish police.
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 Irish Republic.
Funding and External Aid: CIRA supported its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.