The New IRA is involved in a “significant” recruitment drive in Dublin after a number of major policing operations in Northern Ireland have put the terrorist organisation under severe pressure.
t can be revealed that the Garda’s Special Detective Unit (SDU) have been carrying out ongoing operations in the Inchicore, Crumlin, Drimnagh, Clondalkin and Tallaght areas of the capital.
This involves ongoing surveillance and ‘stop and search’ operations in which suspected dissident republicans are searched for weapons or other illegal material.
Members of the organisation have been meeting on a weekly basis in a south Dublin ‘club’ in which “republican strategy as well as membership issues” are discussed.
It is estimated that the New IRA has around 50 active members in the Republic of Ireland with more than half of these being based in Dublin.
According to sources, a major “vetting process” is in place to make sure the meetings are not infiltrated by undercover gardaí or rivals from the criminal underworld.
Many of the main players are involved in security businesses across the capital and gardaí are aware that a main recruiter has returned to the capital from abroad.
Sources say many of the capital’s New IRA members feel that they are being subjected to a “campaign of ongoing harassment” by the SDU but gardaí are working on security assessments that have described the threat level in Northern Ireland as “severe”, especially with ongoing tensions over the Brexit situation.
Sources have revealed that one of the main players in the New IRA’s recruitment campaign is a young Tallaght man who is a close associate of the organisation’s former Dublin leader Kevin Braney (46) of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght.
Braney is currently serving a life sentence in Ireland’s highest security prison in Portlaoise for the “premeditated” murder of fellow dissident republican Peter Butterly (35).
It is understood Braney is still actively involved in dissident activity despite being locked up.
Butterly was gunned down outside The Huntsman Inn in Co Meath on March 6, 2013.
Braney is among a group of more than 20 New IRA inmates on E wing of Portlaoise Prison. Since he was convicted in 2019, sources say his younger associate has taken a much more active role in the organisation.
Another major player in the New IRA in the Republic is a Clondalkin man aged in his 50s who was recently released from prison where he served a lengthy jail sentence for explosives offences. He previously served a jail sentence for membership of the IRA.
“This is an individual of major substance in dissident republican circles and since his release from jail, he has been putting major pressure on drug dealers in the Clondalkin area,” a source said.
“Again he has an active role in recruiting people to be foot soldiers with the vast majority of these being males aged in their 20s who were not previously known to gardaí,” the source added.
According to the Garda’s annual policing report, which was published last week, the SDU carried out an operation in August 2020 targeting the New IRA while it also undertook “intelligence-led operations” into violent extremist groups.
Last year’s investigation was part of major cross-Border operation targeting the New IRA with multiple searches linked to leading dissident republicans in Northern Ireland.
There were 10 arrests in the North and six searches were carried out in the Republic resulting in no arrests.
In Dublin one of those targeted by the SDU was a 53-year-old north inner city criminal who has a previous conviction for handling stolen property and has been a major target for specialist gardaí for years.
Another of those targeted in the capital was a 60-year-old Crumlin man who was previously jailed at Portlaoise Prison for IRA membership and also has a previous conviction for being involved in an armed robbery. Sources say that the
Crumlin man remains the “key target” of officers investigating dissident republicans in the Republic and is suspected of being a “mastermind” behind the current recruitment drive.
The New IRA, who are said to be heavily opposed to drug dealing, have not allowed former associates of slain Real IRA boss Alan Ryan into their organisation after a massive split in the dissident movement nine years ago, according to sources.
This includes Nathan Kinsella (40), a close associate of Alan Ryan who was murdered in September 2012, by the ‘Mr Big’ drugs gang based on the capital’s northside.
However, Kinsella was kicked out of the dissident Republican group in the aftermath of Ryan’s murder due to his criminal activities.
Kinsella is suspected of being still highly active in crime, particularly in south Co Dublin and was the focus of an armed garda raid in April last year after being suspected of being behind an ongoing campaign of terror against a businessman who runs a high-end motor business after a dispute started over a Mercedes car.
The New IRA has admitted that one of its members was responsible for killing tragic journalist Lyra McKee (29) who was shot dead in April 2019 while observing a riot in the Creggan area of Derry.
More than a dozen Derry-based dissidents connected to it are now facing criminal charges in the North with the murder also leading to ‘Operation Arbacia’ – the MI5 safe-house bugging operation that has seen nine men and women charged with directing New IRA terrorism.
Sources say that this has had the net effect of meaning recruitment in the Republic of Ireland is now more important than ever as the terror group plans to exploit expected tensions over Brexit in the North in the coming months.