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    8 suspects arrested in ‘New IRA’ case

    DUBLIN — Irish police charged eight men with Irish Republican Army membership Friday after police raided a suspected meeting of the outlaws’ Dublin leadership, inflicting what a senior policeman called a major blow to the ‘‘New IRA’’ splinter group.

    All eight men were to be arraigned at Ireland’s antiterrorist Special Criminal Court, which handles IRA-related cases with three judges.

    A senior police officer, speaking on condition he not be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the raid, said officers have kept Dublin-based activists of the New IRA faction under surveillance in anticipation of catching them in a meeting.

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    The officer said the meeting was called to reorganize the Dublin ‘‘brigade’’ of the New IRA after its previous commander, Alan Ryan, was fatally shot by rivals in a turf war.

    Most IRA members renounced violence and disarmed in 2005 following a failed 1970-1997 campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. Several small splinter groups have persisted with sporadic attacks.