Allison Morris: New “IRA” initiative is about extortion, not “Irish freedom”
In 2012, an organization calling itself the IRA announced its existence via briefings to several media.
The terrorist group, which the media dubbed the New IRA, murdered two prison guards – David Black in 2012 and Adrian Ismay in 2016 – but the majority of killings were members of the nationalist community.
They were initially seen as a serious threat to stability, but in recent years the organization has shrunk, devouring itself internally in ego clashes and riddled with informants. They have declined in number and support considerably.
The group inherited a Dublin-based support network from the Real IRA which was part of the merger.
But while this flashy wing of the organization was initially seen as beneficial for the amount of money it was raising and sending north, it also came at a cost.
Dissident Republican Alan Ryan, murdered on a Dublin street in 2012, was flashy with cash just like the other members of his gang. With designer clothes, steroid-boosted muscles, and sun-kissed tans, they looked more associated with the UDA’s “Spice Boys” of the 1990s than any other Republican group in existence. They were seen locally as little more than an organized crime gang. All of this hurt the new IRA in terms of attracting support from all potential Republican sympathizers.
Not surprisingly, recruiting in Dublin follows the same pattern seen in Derry, with very young men, with no experience or recollection of past conflicts, being brought into their ranks. Funding for the South, whether funded by partisans or by crime, is important to the survival of any Republican paramilitary group.
This movement to attract new members has little to do with the struggle for “Irish freedom” and everything to do with building muscle that can extort money that can be used to fund a politically defunct organization.