A DISSIDENT Republican group which was set up less than eight months ago has disbanded amid controversy over criminality and extortion.
The Irish Republican Voice (IRV) has been torn apart by infighting in the last couple of months and officially ceased to be an organisation at midnight yesterday.
In a statement released to the Herald, it said: "This decision was not taken lightly and we would also like to clear up that Irish Republican Voice was not involved in any criminal activities or extortion in anyway shape or form whatsoever during our existence.
"We believe a handful of people who are not members are going around using the name of Irish Republican Voice to engage in criminal behaviour and extortion in a direct effort to undermine Irish Republican Voice."
The IRV had been closely monitored by the Garda's Special Detective Unit since it was set up last summer and some members have been arrested.
Some of those involved with the group have shown loyalty to the faction which surrounded slain Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan, even though many have been kicked out of a separate bigger IRA grouping. One of the group's main organisers was Dublin man James McDonagh – a close pal of Alan Ryan.
The Herald previously revealed that a prominent member of the IRV was a young Co Westmeath man involved in robberies and a campaign of intimidation and extortion in the Midlands since he walked free from jail.
However, most of the group's small membership was based in Dublin and a recruitment drive last year failed to get hoped for numbers.
Some IRV members were prominent protesters at the Dail at events in October and September, while others attempted to form an alliance with the Continuity IRA in Limerick.
In January, members of the IRV attended a commemorative march honouring Sean South, who lost his life during a raid on an RUC barracks in Fermanagh in 1957.