By David Raleigh
A statement from a group purporting to be Continuity Sinn Féin (CSF)/Continuity IRA (CIRA) has said it has decided to disband and end its "futile" armed campaign.
The group stated the decision to disband from midnight last night and over a three-month period, was taken, it said, after consulting its membership, at a meeting of the leadership of the CIRA in Northern Ireland.
"The CIRA leadership meeting in the six counties has taken in the last number of weeks the decision to abandon its armed campaign," the statement said.
"After meeting with our membership throughout the 32 counties it was decided that the opportunity now exists for the attainment of our political goals by abandoning the armed struggle."
The statement, sent to the Limerick Leader which includes a recognised code word, thanks republicans and "members of the clergy" for their "great assistance in guiding us in this decision".
The statement includes an apology for the effects of the group's violent actions on communities.
"We know the great hurt and pain we have inflicted on communities both north and south and for that we offer our sincerest apology and hope by this action no more pain or loss will visit them."
"As of 12 midnight on the 7/6/2017 the organisation known as CSF/CIRA will disband and over a 3 month period that has being agreed the small amount of arms & explosive material we posses will be decommissioned under agreed procedures."
"We urge our former activists instead of continuing a futile war to heed the unanimous decision of your leadership along with the vast wishes and the will of the Irish people and put their energy into their families and communities," the statement concludes.
The Continuity IRA has been traditionally linked to Republican Sinn Féin since the late 1980s by republicans opposed to Sinn Fein's political goals.
The Continuity Sinn Féin organisation, formerly known as Republican Sinn Féin Limerick, was formed in recent years.