Appeal Court rules 'Real' IRA is an illegal organisation

The Court of Appeal in Belfast, overturning an earlier Crown Court decision, has ruled that the 'Real' IRA is an illegal terrorist organisation.

The finding followed on from a Crown Court decision that the Real IRA was not a proscribed organisation within the terms of the applicable anti-terrorist legislation, during a trial in which Mr Justice Girvan dismissed charges of membership to the Real IRA brought against four men last month.

In today's ruling Lord Chief Justice Brian Kerr and Lord Justices Nicholson and Campbell determined that the Terrorism Act 2000 was passed by Parliament in the knowledge that the Real IRA was in existence and was a terrorist grouping.

The Lord Chief Justice said: "At the time of the enactment of the Terrorism Act 2000, Parliament was well aware of the existence and activities of the 'Real' IRA. Quite apart from the notoriety of the outrage in Omagh in August 1998, this much is clear from the fact that the 'Real' IRA was specified under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 before the Terrorism Act was passed.

"In our judgment it is inconceivable that the legislature did not intend that the 'Real' IRA should be proscribed and that its members should be liable to prosecution for belonging to a proscribed organisation."

Concluding, the Court of Appeal Justices said: "…we are of the opinion that a person who belongs to or professes to belong to the 'Real' Irish Republican Army commits an offence contrary to section 11 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2000."

Leave to appeal the decision to the House of Lords has been lodged by the defence.

A decision on the leave to appeal is not expected until next week.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

14 February 2020
Suspect Charged Over North Belfast Burglaries
A man will appear in court today charged with offences related to a spate of burglaries in north Belfast. The 35 year-old was arrested in the Brompton Park area of the city in the early hours of Thursday morning, 13 February, after a car stolen during the break-ins collided with a parked vehicle in Duneden Park.
13 February 2020
Suspect Due In Court Over £200k Drug Find
A 27 year-old is due in court charged with drug related offences after substances worth an estimated £200,000 were seized in Belfast.
12 February 2020
Essex Lorry Deaths: Driver Granted Extradition Appeal
A Co Down man wanted in connection with the discovery of 39 Vietnamese nationals in a lorry in Essex has been granted an appeal against his extradition to the UK. A Dublin High Court judge ruled that Eamonn Harrison, from Mayobridge in Northern Ireland, can challenge the European Arrest Warrant issued for his arrest.
14 January 2020
Justice Minister Condemns West Belfast Shooting
Justice Minister Naomi Long has demanded an end to paramilitary style attacks in the wake of a shooting in west Belfast that left a man with life changing injuries. An incident in the Burnaby Walk area at around 6pm on Monday 13 January left a 39 year-old man with gunshot wounds to his knee and ankle.
10 November 2009
Protection For NI Judges Increased
Armed police are protecting some of Ulster's top judges around the clock amid a heightened threat from dissident republicans, it has been revealed. Security measures were stepped-up last month after terrorists managed to track down the location of a serving judge and his wife, who were dining in Limavady.