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US rebuts claims it’s aiding IRA dissidents

Associated Press / October 15, 2010

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LONDON — America’s ambassador to Britain said yesterday that there is no evidence that violent dissident groups in Northern Ireland are getting money from US sources.

Ambassador Louis Susman made his remarks amid attacks from groups opposed to the Irish Republican Army’s backing for a Catholic-Protestant government under a 1998 accord.

The attacks have prompted questions about funding. In the past, some Irish-Americans have been accused of backing the IRA’s campaign of violence, which it has formally abandoned.

“We have absolutely no evidence that there is any funding coming from America to these small dissident IRA groups,’’ Susman said.

From the 1970s to 1990s, US-based groups — chiefly Irish Northern Aid — funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to IRA-related causes in Northern Ireland, but then Irish Northern Aid threw its support behind Sinn Fein’s acceptance of compromise in the Good Friday peace accord of 1998.

It is unclear from where current dissident groups are getting their money. Most of the recent attacks have been crude and relatively low-budget. Even during the heyday of the IRA, US sympathizers provided extremely little of the group’s funds.

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