In 2012 an organisation calling itself the IRA announced its existence via briefings to several media outlets.
The terror group, which the media dubbed the New IRA, has murdered two prison officers — David Black in 2012 and Adrian Ismay in 2016 — but the majority of murders carried out were members of the nationalist community.
They were initially considered a serious threat to stability but in recent years the organisation has dwindled away, devouring itself internally over clashes of egos and riddled with informers. They have reduced in numbers and support considerably.
The group inherited a Dublin-based support network from the Real IRA that was part of the amalgamation.
But while that flashy wing of the organisation was initially thought to be beneficial for the amount of money they were raking in and sending up north, that also came at a cost.
Dissident republican Alan Ryan, murdered on a Dublin street in 2012, was flash with cash as were the other members of his gang. With designer clothes, steroid enhanced muscles and sunbed tans, they had a look more associated with the UDA ‘Spice Boys’ of the 1990s than any existing republican group. They were viewed locally as little more than an organised crime gang. All of this has damaged the New IRA in terms of attracting support from any potential heavyweight republican sympathisers.
It is no surprise that recruiting in Dublin is following the same pattern as has been seen in Derry, with very young men, with no experience or memory of past conflict, being brought into their ranks. Southern financing, whether raised from supporters or through criminality, is important to the survival of any republican paramilitary group.
This move to attract new members has little to do with fighting for ‘Irish Freedom’ and everything to do with acquiring muscle that can extort money that can be used to finance a politically defunct organisation.