Dissident republicans have claimed that they were responsible for the shooting that occurred in Dublin on Friday, in which one man was killed and two others were injured.
On 5 February gang member David Byrne was shot dead in a carefully planned attack on a boxing weigh-in at a Dublin hotel. Reportedly six gunmen, one dressed as a woman, stormed the Regency Hotel. Three of the gunmen wore police-style SWAT team uniforms and were armed with AK47 assault rifles.
The weigh in was for a Clash of the Clans boxing bout between Dubliner Jamie Kavanagh and Portuguese boxer Joao Bento. The World Boxing Organisation European lightweight title fight was due to take place on 6 February.
In a coded statement to the BBC in Belfast a man claiming to speak on behalf of the Continuity IRA (CIRA) stated that the movement also plans to undertake further attacks on “drug dealers and criminals”. Irish police have said that they will be “keeping an open mind in relation to the criminal groups involved”.
The man’s statement claimed that Byrne was killed because he had been involved in the killing of Alan Ryan four years ago, in Dublin. Ryan was a leading member of another republican group named the Real IRA.
The statement reads, “Although (Ryan) was not a member of our organisation, we are not going to stand back and allow drug dealers and criminals to target republicans. This will not be an isolated incident. More drug dealers and criminals will be targeted. The continuity IRA will carry out further military operations”.
However sources within Dublin still maintain that Friday’s attack was rooted in a perpetual feud between the Costa del Sol based Irish gangster Christy Kinahan and his rival, the north Dublin criminal known as The Monk. One source revealed that the CIRA statement might have been designed in order to “muddy the waters and sow confusion”.
On 8 February there were reports in the Irish media that senior members of Kinahan’s gang held a “war summit” in a central Dublin pub to discuss retaliation. The Irish police, An Garda Síochána, have set up armed checkpoints in Dublin because of fears of retaliation from the attack.
Speaking after the attack Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams stated, “I understand a group calling itself the Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for the attack at the Regency Hotel. They are not the IRA. The IRA are gone and their weapons are gone”.