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Surveillance of New IRA is stepped up by Garda in Republic of Ireland

By Tom Brady

Published 23/05/2016

Warning: John O’Mahony
Warning: John O’Mahony

Police in the Republic have stepped up their monitoring of suspected members of the New IRA as a result of intelligence fears it is preparing for a campaign of violence in Britain.

The New IRA has been responsible for a renewed spate of terror activity in Northern Ireland in recent months.

Security agencies now say they have unspecified intelligence indicating that the terrorists are planning to strike in Britain shortly. Senior Garda anti-terrorist officers are now working closely with their counterparts in the PSNI and other police forces in Britain, as a result of the warning.

Officers say they have no information to back reports circulating in Northern Ireland that the group have gained possession of a large haul of Semtex explosive, which had previously been under the control of the Provisional IRA.

But as a result of the intelligence MI5 raised the threat level to Britain from Northern Ireland-related terrorism from ‘moderate’ to ‘substantial’.

This means a terrorist attack is regarded as a strong possibility. The threat level within Northern Ireland remains at ‘severe’, suggesting an attack is highly likely.

In March the New IRA claimed responsibility for planting a bomb under the car of prison officer Adrian Ismay in east Belfast. Mr Ismay died two weeks later from his injuries.

The New IRA is a relatively new dissident grouping, consisting of members of the Real IRA, the Derry-based Republican Action Against Drugs group and former members of the Provisional IRA’s east Tyrone brigade.

Earlier this year Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Mahony said recent seizures were evidence of the increasing sophistication of dissident “engineers”.

During 2015 Garda arrested 31 people in connection with enquiries into dissident activity and 22 were charged with terrorist-related offences before the Special Criminal Court.

Mr O’Mahony said that Garda interventions and arrests had, without doubt, saved lives.

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