Derry Journal

RIRA Expel Strabane Men

By Bernie Mullen

Friday 11th February 2005

The real IRA have ordered two Strabane men to leave Ireland - for good.

The dissident republican group claims to have expelled the men, both in their 20s, earlier this week for alleged "criminal activity."

In a statement telephoned to the 'Journal' using a recognised codeword, the Tyrone Brigade of Oglaigh na h-Eireann accused the men of bringing the organisation "into disrepute."

The statement followed the Real IRA's recent admission that it carried out an incendiary attack at a hardware and agricultural business in Strabane which caused in excess of £1 million damage.

The Linton and Robinson Ltd outlet at Dock Street was completely gutted in the huge blaze and will have to be rebuilt.

It emerged yesterday that 20 staff employed at the firebombed store have had their worst fears confirmed after being told their jobs have also gone.

The Real IRA claimed they targeted the familyrun business because it was allegedly supplying materials to the police.

The group claims to have exiled the two local men in the wake of a subsequent attempted firebombing attack at the Safeway supermarket in the town. The Real IRA was also suspected of having targeting Safeway but the organisation issued a public denial through this newspaper.

The group this week again sought to distance itself from the incident at the Branch Road supermarket which employs around 200 people.

The Real IRA also disassociated itself from a recent spate of arson attacks at Orange Halls in the Castlederg, Douglas Bridge and Strabane areas.

The caller said: "We will not tolerate people using our name for criminal activity and those who bring 'the army' into disrepute will be seriously dealt with."

RIRA's Tyrone Brigade claimed that on Monday two Strabane men "were arrested by members of Oglaigh na h-Eireann while under investigation and [they] confessed." It is believed the men who were threatened left immediately and that they were ordered not to return in the foreseeable future.

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