Police in the Republic of Ireland plan to launch a crackdown on dissident republicans in the wake of a paramilitary display and volley of shots fired at the funeral of Real IRA terror boss Alan Ryan.
A series of Garda raids on the homes of dissidents in several counties is being organised, as officers build up evidence against those believed to have been involved in the show of arms outside the Ryan family home on the northside of Dublin.
A large number of dissident republican supporters crossed the border, particularly from Londonderry and Belfast, for the funeral.
Gardai are expected to liaise with the PSNI before deciding on arrests.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said that paramilitary activity could not be tolerated on the streets of the capital and where people were identified as having committed a criminal offence, they would be “brought to book”.
Gardai disclosed last night that a dossier of fresh intelligence was being compiled as a result of the photographic evidence gathered at the funeral. This was being examined by senior anti-terrorist officers, who were particularly interested in the emergence at the funeral of some newcomers.
Others were also present who were thought to have retired from republican activity, and had not been known to associate with Ryan or his faction of the Real IRA.
One officer said: “We have collected some interesting material, which will help open up new avenues of inquiry for us into paramilitary activity while also assisting ongoing inquiries into links between Ryan's group and other republican factions.”
The information is expected to be useful as gardai prepare files on those suspected of committing a criminal offence at the funeral.
Those involved could face charges of illegal possession of a firearm, if directly linked to the volley of shots, or membership of an illegal organisation.
Meanwhile, Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the incidents “took us back to the dark days of the Troubles”.
Gardai had photographers on duty outside the Ryan family home, outside the church in Donaghmede, and at Fingal cemetery on Saturday, according to sources. They were backed up in the surveillance by undercover officers, who mingled with the mourners, and ‘spotters’ whose task was to pinpoint known activists and monitor their movements.