Sunday Life

Rebels face Provo backlash
PIRA outrage at Falls killing

By Stephen Breen

IRA bosses are set to declare war on renegade republican gangs across Belfast, it was claimed last night.

Sunday Life understands that Belfast Provo chiefs have run out of patience with the dissidents, and have "drawn up" a hit-list of leading Real and Continuity IRA chiefs in the north and west of the city.

Republican sources say the IRA had already being growing "impatient" with the dissidents, over their growing links to criminal gangs, loyalist terrorists and drug dealers.

But Provo leaders in west Belfast were outraged by last week's brutal murder, by the Real IRA of Danny McGurk, in the lower Falls.

Senior republican sources told us the IRA leadership was previously "reluctant" to launch an attack against the dissidents because of the peace process, but said the group is now coming under intense pressure from its own ranks to target the rival gangs.

The Provos have moved against the dissidents before, most notably they were blamed for the murder of Real IRA chief, John 'Jo Jo' O'Connor, in October 2000.

They were also behind punishment attacks on senior renegades in the south Down area, and north Belfast.

But now the IRA is set to scale up attacks against dissidents.

This latest development comes after Sunday Life exposed links between the dissidents and Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair's old C company.

We also revealed how the former leader of the Real IRA in west Belfast - Anthony Notorantonio - was jailed after he was found with one of Adair's old UZI sub-machine guns.

A senior security source told us it would be "no surprise" if the IRA leadership sanctioned a move against the dissident gangs.

Said the source: "Apart from the killing of Jo Jo and sporadic punishment attacks against suspected dissidents, the IRA has been keeping a distance from these dissident gangs.

"They know everything that they're involved in, but they will only take action against them when they feel the time is right.

"The Provos have to look at the bigger picture, but with a vacuum in the peace process at this stage, the feeling among its rank and file now is that maybe this is the time to strike.

"The dissident gangs have been terrorising places like north and west Belfast, and the people have had enough.

"They are now looking to groups like the mainstream IRA to take action.

"The IRA knows who the leaders of the renegade gangs are.

"And the general feeling is that they could be ready to take one of them out on a no-claim no blame basis."

Dissidents face protests on their home front

OUTRAGED residents in west Belfast are set to hold a series of protests, outside the homes of leading dissident republicans.

The plan has been drawn up by people in the lower Falls, and in other parts of the republican stronghold, after last weekend's brutal murder of Daniel McGurk.

The protests have been organised by local people, in a bid to force the Real and Continuity IRA terror bosses to leave the area.

Mr McGurk was gunned down in front of his wife and children, by a Real IRA gang, after he was involved in a row with some of the terror group's leading members in the west of the city, earlier this month.

He was shot in the feet and the back, in what may have been a savage attempted punishment-style shooting that went wrong.

Although a number of protests have been held outside the homes of renegade republicans in north Belfast, this is expected to be the first time protests will be staged in the west of the city.

Even before Mr McGurk's murder, there was growing anger in west Belfast towards the dissident gangs, which are linked to criminal, and drug dealing, gangsters across Northern Ireland.

One concerned resident - too terrified to be named - who lived close to the home of Mr McGurk, told Sunday Life people in the area have "had enough" of the dissident republican groups.

Said the resident: "It's about time something was done to let the thugs of the Real IRA know that they are not wanted, in nationalist areas.

"The Provos don't seem to want to get involved, because of the peace process, but if the ordinary people come out and protest at these people, they cannot be stopped.

"The protest outside the home of a senior dissident, in the Bone area of north Belfast, was a success because he has now left, and there is no reason why it can't happen here.

"They class themselves as true republicans, yet they are working with well-known criminals and loyalists."

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