September 23rd, 2014

New IRA in commander cock-up

Northern IrelandBy Paula Mackin
Richard Murphy
Richard Murphy

MEET the installed dissident terror chief Richard Murphy - or Commander Cock-Up as he is being called.

Murphy or Risteard O’Murchu, as he prefers to be known, has been made New IRA chief in Belfast but has already been labelled a lame duck leader after presiding over a series of operational catastrophes.

The top job was allegedly held by Alex McCrory who is currently behind bars charged with conspiracy to possess firearms and explosives with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to murder and IRA membership.

However O’Murchu has been viewed with deep suspicion by several republicans for almost two decades.

He was arrested in early ‘90s for the possession of an explosives training video. 

The Belfast man, who was then linked to the IRA, pleaded guilty but avoided jail and was handed a 19 month suspended sentence – an almost unprecedented level of lenience in the face of such serious charges under the Diplock trial system.

It prompted many republicans to regard him with mistrust and for many their suspicions were confirmed after the arrest of two men in the late 1990s in 

the grounds of Beechlawn House Hotel in south Belfast.

A home-made rocket launcher was recovered and the two men arrested were charged and received lengthy jails sentences. 

 

An undercover police cordon had been thrown around the hotel but still O’Murchu managed to escape.

Dissident sources have also told us he is suspected of having been involved in the arrests of other combatants. One such incident involved the recovery of a document from a house in West Belfast which, it is claimed, he had delivered.

The owner of the home was arrested and later charged with possession of information that may have been of use to terrorists.

O’Murchu, who has also had links to Erigi and the 1916 Societies, has been loosely involved with the New IRA since its formation. 

Regularly seen in the company of senior members of the group, including two members of the ruling Collective Leadership, he is also a close associate of dissident groupie Brendan ‘Mr Bean’ Conway, another north Belfast man.

He is already being regarded as a lame duck leader with all operations carried under his watch deemed to have been a failure or at best compromised – and the list is endless.

Sources have linked him with the recovery of 10lb of Semtex discovered in a flat in the New Lodge area in March 2014. 

A close associate and deputy of O’Murchu who hails from the Bone Area of the city has also been implicated. 

The same person is currently under investigation by the NIRA after his involvement in supplying the weapons used in an attack on a PSNI Land Rover as it drove down the Crumlin Road. One of the rifles, an AK47 was tampered with and did not fire. 

The weapons were discarded as the hit team panicked and fled.

A failed bomb attack on a police patrol as it passed the City Cemetery has also been laid at O’Murchu’s feet. 

Contrary to reports PSNI sources say the device hit a concrete pillar and not the jeep. O’Murchu is suspected of planting the device in such a way that it would not strike the police vehicle.

With no operational experience his appointment is seen at best as a clear indication of the lack of experienced people within the NIRA ranks and a statement of their lack of intent. 

“The only people in danger from the NIRA at the minute are those stupid enough to be involved with them,” a security source told the Sunday World.

O’Murchu was arrested and questioned in connection to the murder of North Belfast drug dealer Kevin Kearney. His sidekick Brendan Conway was also arrested in connection of the murder last October.