NewsCrime Desk

New IRA plot carnage for 1916 centenary

The scene of the bob attack on Adrian Ismay
The scene of the bob attack on Adrian Ismay

DISSIDENT republicans based in Dublin are heavily involved in plots to carry out terror attacks in the North to coincide with the anniversary of 1916.

A prison officer died today after being injured earlier this month when a New IRA booby trap bomb exploded under his van in Belfast.

52-year-old Adrian Ismay, a father of three, who worked at Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre in South Belfast, was driving to work at around 7am on March 4 when a bomb under his car detonated on Hillsborough Drive, off the Woodstock Road in Belfast. 

Security services have since stepped up operations as they expect further attacks in the coming weeks.

The dissident organisations are under intense electronic and physical surveillance and also have to deal with numerous informers within their ranks, but are still intent on carrying out terror attacks.

The New IRA, Óglaigh na hÉireann and separate Continuity IRA factions are being monitored by Gardaí in the lead up to the Easter Celebrations.

One Dublin man involved in active operations in the North is a 30-year-old from Crumlin.

He was previously charged with terror offences, but was later acquitted. Gardaí suspect he was directly involved in planting a bomb on a PSNI officer’s car in Derry last year. The device was discovered before it could go off.

Another major figure within the organisation is from Finglas in north Dublin.

There are other leading figures in the organisation based in Tallaght, Bettystown, Ballymun and the north inner city who are under surveillance.

The PSNI said this week that there are hundreds of dissident republicans operating on the island of Ireland.

The different factions often share resources and co-operate with criminal gangs.

One of the gunmen involved in the Regency shooting (below) was a dissident republican who has been in various groups in the North.

While criminal figures linked to Gary Hutch organised that shooting, they are understood to have sought the help of republican figures to help carry it out.

There is serious concern within security services over the growing number of people involved in dissident activity, but it still pales in comparison to paramilitary activity at the height of the Troubles. 

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said there are “a few hundred active DRs [dissident republicans] who are involved in active dissident republican operations, but there would be a much smaller number, most of whom would have very significant terrorist experience, who are involved in directing terrorism and the leadership of these groups”.

He said the groups will use the centenary of 1916 as an “excuse” to commit violence.