Country Report on Terrorism 2019 - Chapter 5 - Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)

Aka CIRA; Continuity Army Council; Continuity IRA; Republican Sinn Fein

Description:  Designated as an FTO on July 13, 2004, the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) is a terrorist splinter group that became operational in 1986 as the clandestine armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein, following its split from Sinn Fein.  “Continuity” refers to the group’s belief that it is carrying on the original goal of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), to force the British out of Northern Ireland.  CIRA cooperates with the larger Real IRA (RIRA).

Activities:  CIRA has been active in Belfast and the border areas of Northern Ireland, where it has carried out bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, extortion operations, and robberies.  On occasion, it has provided advance warning to police of its attacks.  Targets have included the British military, Northern Ireland security forces, and Loyalist paramilitary groups.

In February 2016, CIRA claimed responsibility for a shooting at a boxing event in Dublin that left one dead.  In June 2017, CIRA released a statement claiming it would disband and decommission some of its arms over the following three months, describing the conflict as a “futile war.”

In August 2019, CIRA members conducted an attack on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), setting off a bomb near the border of North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In December 2019, CIRA claimed responsibility for a grenade attack in west Belfast on a PSNI vehicle.

Strength:  CIRA’s membership is small, with possibly fewer than 50 members.

Location/Area of Operation:  Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Funding and External Aid:  CIRA supports its activities through criminal activities, including smuggling.