Belfast Telegraph

Dissident party to fight US ban

By Sean O'Driscoll in New York
17 July 2004

US-BASED dissident republicans are to mount a legal challenge to a US government ban on the fringe political party, Republican Sinn Fein.

The party, which runs candidates in local elections and has offices in Dublin and Belfast, was designated this week as a foreign terrorist organisation.

RSF is closely linked to the dissident republican paramilitary group, Continuity IRA.

The party's US support group, the Irish Freedom Committee, said that it would mount a legal challenge against the ban.

New York spokesman, John McDonagh, said that he would be meeting lawyers in Washington next week.

Mr McDonagh, who hosts a political discussion programme on Radio Free Eireann in New York, said he knew of party members who wanted to visit Disneyland with their children but would now be stopped because all members are now considered members of a terrorist group, even if they have no connection to Continuity IRA.

The State Department has previously designated the Real IRA, and its political advocacy group, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, as foreign terrorist organisations.

A legal challenge by US supporters of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee was not successful.

Martin Galvin, a Bronx- based attorney associated with the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, hired a lawyer to fight the case. However, a US court found that the ban was constitutional.

Meanwhile, RSF's last remaining local council representative in the Republic lost his seat in Longford this year.

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