Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Who actually stands behind New IRA?


Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at

The terrorist group “New IRA” announced Tuesday the killing of Irish journalist Lyra McKee in the Northern Irish town of Londonderry. The letter of confession leaked to the Belfast “Irish News” newspaper states: “In the course of the attack on the enemy, Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing next to the enemy forces.” The “New IRA” was already there been suspected of the act.

The nationalist-Catholic terrorist group “New IRA” has recently been blamed for numerous acts, including the attempted parcel bomb attacks in London and Glasgow in March of that year and a series of attacks on british soldiers and police in recent months.

Who is behind this group? “In general, the ‘New IRA’ is considered to be a splinter organization of the former IRA, which was probably formed in 2011/2012, ‘However, this hermaphrodite organization is more in between terrorism and organized crime. The organisation also finances smuggling, suspected by global experts.

The “Irish Republican Army” (IRA) had spread terror until the late 1990s in the wake of the Northern Ireland conflict. For decades Catholics and Protestants or Irish-minded Republicans and British-oriented loyalists had bitterly opposed each other. The conflict fell over the years about 3500 people were victimised until ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

The “New IRA” emerged from the merger of the “Real IRA” and a kind of vigilante named Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD), which was mainly in Londonderry against alleged drug dealers, including “punitive shots” and pipe bombing attacks former members of the IRA, who were dissatisfied with the ceasefire achieved and the peace process.

According to the Irish authorities, the “New IRA” has around 200 members. Whereas the global experts  estimates that they are around 20 to 50 years old. Thus, among them may be those who had been trained in  bombing prior to the Good Friday Agreement. It is believed that the younger ones often come from poorer areas, such as the district of Creggan in Londonderry, where the journalist McKee was in the line of fire last Thursday.

Overall, the “New IRA” supporters lives in Londonderry, because the majority Catholic population from the government of the British provincial feel discriminated, says Kieran McConaghy from the Handa center for terrorism research at the University of St. Andrews. Members of the group also live in the north of Belfast and in the county of Armagh on the border with Ireland, it is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland

Dr Thomas Leahy, lecturer at the University of Cardiff for British and Irish politics and the history, specialized  in the Northern Ireland conflict, believes that many of the young members of the “New IRA” have entered due to the family influence. “If you look at the family background, it is often seen that other family members reject the peace process or pursue a militant Irish republicanism.”

According to Leahy, a small number of the group also consists of people who are unhappy with the current situation in Northern Ireland. Above all, the members of the New IRA are people who believe that the use of force and coercion is the appropriate way to evict England from Northern Ireland. They also believe that history justifies that, “says Leahy.

The “New IRA” rejects the 1998 peace agreement, alike the IRA, aspires to a united Ireland. In this way the group faces the Protestants of British descent, who continue to see Northern Ireland under British control. However, Dr Leahy considers the peace process quite stable. The majority of northern Irish have “learned from history, especially recent history, and have seen that violence is not the way to achieve their goals. Violence would only nullify the achievements so far, “said Leahy. Some global experts are also of the opinion that one still far from the former state, “but a noticeable break” is visible.

Brexit and the related debate about the consequences of a possible hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland also play a role. “If it comes to a return of the so-called, direct rules’, so that London decides for Northern Ireland, that will certainly contribute to a growth of tension,” experts viewed.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the largest Protestant and unionist party in Ireland have become the majority funder of Theresa May in London since the 2017 elections and have become increasingly important in British politics.” This has weakened confidence in the British government from the point of view of the nationalists in Northern Ireland.

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