Dissident Republican Calls for End to Violence
Byline: LINDSAY FERGUS
THE political wing of the Real IRA has taken a long-awaited step towards condemning violence.
Francis Mackey, Chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, which is closely linked to the ruthless republican group, made the surprise comments in a New Year message.
Mr Mackey, who has been boycotted by relatives of the Omagh bomb on numerous occasions, said: "Sectarian violence clouds the issue and serves no purpose other than to widen divisions within our people.
"Protestant people should have nothing to fear from republicans. It is in all our interests to end political violence in favour of true democracy.
"Political force through the presence of a foreign military war machine is not democratic."
However, Mr Mackey went on to pay tribute to Real IRA man Jo Jo O'Connor.
The 26-year-old Belfast man, who was a leading member of the terror group, had a full paramilitary funeral after he was gunned down outside his mother's house in Ballymurphy in November.
Mr Mackey also called for a republican inquiry "to expose the perpetrators of this foul crime". …