Northern Ireland

Police investigate Real IRA rally at Derry cemetery

Police have said an investigation is under way into a rally at a Londonderry cemetery on Monday at which masked Real IRA members read out a statement.

The dissidents threatened to kill more police officers.

Superintendent Chris Yates said police had decided to "run a low key operational response to the event".

"An investigation has commenced and I would appeal to anyone who has any information regarding this incident to contact police," he added.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement organised the rally at the City Cemetery to mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

It is regarded as the political wing of the Real IRA, the organisation which claimed responsibility for the Omagh bomb which killed 29 people and unborn twins in 1998.

It also killed two soldiers in Antrim two years ago and exploded a car bomb in Derry last year.

Superintendent Yates said: "Any alleged breaches of criminal law reported to police or coming to our attention will be rigorously and thoroughly investigated.

"The PSNI work to ensure that all their actions are appropriate, proportionate and lawful.

"Our priorities are to protect the public, preserve public order, uphold the human rights of all and gather evidence of any wrongdoing."


Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said he believes talks are ongoing between dissident republicans and the British government.

"I did say that last year and I think what I said was vindicated by those investigative journalists who came to realise that what I was saying was absolutely true," he said

"There can be no doubt whatsoever that representatives of the British government were speaking to the highest levels of what is called the Real IRA.

"As for the situation at the moment, I would be surprised if there isn't still some means of communication between them."

The Democratic Unionist Party's Nigel Dodds said he would oppose any such talks with dissidents.

"Primarily because they have shown not the slightest interest in wanting to move away from violence," he said.

"I think that's a very different situation from the sort of engagement there's been in recent times with other groups.

"These are groups that have shown they are engaged in the most bloody and dastardly types of planning and plotting against members of the security forces and I think they deserve a resolute security reaction and response."

In its statement read out at the cemetery, the Real IRA said police officers would be targeted "regardless of their religion, cultural background or motivation".

The organisation also expressed its opposition to the Queen's impending visit to Ireland.

"The Queen of England is wanted for war crimes in Ireland and is not wanted on Irish soil," the statement added.

More on this story