The emergence of a new, and small, republican dissident group had led to one of the worst
upheavals of violence in Northern Ireland in recent years. For six consecutive nights the ‘New
IRA’ provoked violence on the sectarian fault line between Catholics in Derry and Protestants in
The nights in Derry were filled with explosions and petrol bombs, rioting, gun fire aimed at
police, and attacks targeting heavily populated unionist areas. There were reports of barriers
being erected, the use of toss bombs, and the luring of police into areas occupied by armed
combatants. In Belfast and Newtownards, cars were stolen and set on fire. A suspected pipe
bomb was placed and detonated near police forces, and barricades to block the Ulster Hospital
were set up.
Despite the 200+ petrol bombs and machine gun fire there were fortunately no deaths as it
seemed that these demonstrations were used for intimidation, training purposes and display of
The perpetrators behind these acts of terrorism are called the ‘New IRA’. A terrorist group who
seek to into to revive the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s campaign of violence. Their
demands echo the sentiments of the now defunct IRA they aim to emulate: a) Reject the North
Ireland Peace Process b) An end of the British presence in Northern Ireland and c) a United
Even though they have not reached the capability or capacity of the Provisional IRA their threat
in a time of chaos and fragility cannot be ignored.
The ‘New IRA’ are said to have between 200-250 members and are robustly recruiting. They
are well equipped and funded, and have the likelihood of becoming lethal due to their growing
potential. It has been said that recently they have shown their strength and capability through
their mixture of old and new techniques such as the weapons used and method of attack, as the
new group is made of former members of older paramilitary groups.
With children upwards of eight years old participating in the violence, the organization is
recruiting at all ages.
They have used Brexit and the growing fear of a hard border between Ireland and Northern
Ireland to recruit for the nationalist cause. Due to the fact that Northern Ireland has not had a
devolved assembly in over 18 months they take advantage of this chaotic time to wreak havoc.
Chief Constable George Hamilton addressed MPs and requested 400 more border patrols in
order to deal with the threat of terror sparked by the Irish nationalist and by recent events. Prime
Minister May is set to denounce the EU ‘backstop’ plan that was set for Northern Ireland over
fears that it would violate the Good Friday Agreement that has secured peace since 1998. She
also heeded on the calls for assistance in Northern Ireland and said she is considering a
number of issues, both on the Brexit situation and the devolved administration.
The peace process will prevail as it has for the past 20 years, and the fanatical ‘New IRA’ will
see the same fate as their zealous paramilitary forbears. This ‘New IRA’ has no political
support from either side of the isle. All main political parties have condemned the disturbances
and continue to champion for peace.
As Margaret Thatcher once said after surviving an IRA orchestrated assassination: “all attempts
to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.”