Spain holds 2 Real IRA suspects

Spain holds 2 Real IRA suspects

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police said on Sunday they had arrested two men from Northern Ireland suspected of running a tobacco smuggling operation to finance the Real IRA, an Irish republican splinter group.

Police arrested the pair, suspected members of the dissident group, in the southern city of Malaga and seized nearly half a million packets of cigarettes worth more than 1 billion euros (685 million pounds) in Spain, according to a statement.

The arrests followed a two-year investigation that uncovered several people trafficking guns and tobacco from Spain's Mediterranean coast to finance the Real IRA, police said.

The statement added that the two were planning to ship the consignment to Britain, where a packet of cigarettes costs almost three times as much as in Spain.

Although the IRA has been observing a cease-fire for almost a decade, small breakaway groups such as the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA remain a threat.

They want to unite Northern Ireland with the Irish Republic and do not support a 1998 peace deal under which the province retained its status as part of the United Kingdom and involved pro-Irish groups more closely in a local government.

The arrests in Spain occurred less than a month after Northern Ireland police arrested four people after discovering parts for a large car bomb that dissident Irish republicans planned to use in an attack.
The R-IRA and the C-IRA and other small groups like them do not help the Republican cause in the North of Ireland. They really should support what many see in the North of Ireland and inside the Republic as well as the only true path to peace. Even though the Irish Republican Army is seen by most Northern Irish as a protector of the catholic community from British paramilitists and even the army itself, Groups such as "The Real" IRA hinder the communities safty by sabatoging the peace process and even hindering the IRA's attempt at a settlement and the catholic community in the North of Ireland and the general peace of mind of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The fact is the dream of "The Real" IRA arn't even in line with current realities of the situation. If somehow the R-IRA or any other small groups were able to some how pull off what they wanted, the republic of Ireland would most likely not unilaterly bring bring in the six counties of the north, without a treaty or some sort of agreement with the united kingdom.

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