It follows a report in The Irish Independent yesterday that the Irish Republican Socialist Party has dramatically increased its vigilante activities to stop anti-social behaviour in counties Meath and Cavan in recent months.
Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín said the situation was not helped by the fact that Meath had the lowest rate of gardaí nationwide, which is currently one officer for every 582 citizens.
“We’re calling on the gardai and the commissioner and the minister to actually get real around policing these estates,” he told the Michael Reade Show this morning.
“Because as long as these estates are not being properly policed and the longer this antisocial behaviour is happening, there's going to be that vacuum.
"And some people, unfortunately, will turn to groups such as this to fill that vacuum.”
It was revealed yesterday how gardaí have increased their monitoring of the violent dissident republican “vigilante” group that had been ‘patrolling’ housing estates in the midlands.
Some members of the group, which has links to the INLA, are former close associates of murdered Real IRA terror chief Alan Ryan, who was gunned down in September 2012.
It was previously revealed that Ryan’s associates were not welcome to join other dissident groupings such as the New IRA and senior sources say the Dubliners have now become prominent members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP).
Their activities have dramatically increased in counties Cavan and Meath in recent months, with a major recruitment drive. They have used social media and leaflet drops to win support and have been "patrolling" housing estates.
The IRSP has, for a long time, been classified as the political wing of the INLA.
“This is a cause for concern on many levels. This organisation is most active in locations such as Virginia in Co Cavan, Trim and Kells in Co Meath, as well as in the capital, particularly on the northside,” a senior source said.
“They are working very closely with an INLA faction based in Strabane, Co Tyrone.
“Of course not everybody involved in the IRSP is involved in crime.
“But the fact that associates of Alan Ryan are now involved is something that needs to be closely watched.”
After a confrontation described as a “violent face-off” at the Magdalene Court estate in Kells on November 10, Deputy Tóibín expressed his deep concern about the situation.
“Under no circumstances can a vigilante group be allowed to operate in Meath or anywhere else in the country,” Mr Tóibín said in a statement.
“I accept the residents’ frustrations, but what they really need is more action from the gardaí and the local council in tackling anti-social behaviour.
“The IRSP, or anyone else, cannot be allowed to enforce their rule by using threats of violence, we simply cannot accept vigilantes being allowed operate freely.”
However, the situation escalated just three days later after an incident in the nearby Headfort Grove area of the town and gardaí have launched a major investigation
It is alleged that three 14-year-old boys were badly beaten by five masked men who threatened to kill them if they took part in anti-social behaviour.
No arrests have yet been made in relation to the incident, which unfolded at 4.45pm on Saturday, November 13. It has been described as a case of “mistaken identity”.
Gardaí in Co Cavan have also been closely monitoring the group and received reports that IRSP members called to the Virginia home of a foreign national they described as a “child groomer” on their social media platforms.
Despite the online accusations of the dissident Republican group, senior sources say that gardaí found no “tangible evidence” the man was engaged in the offences that he was accused of. The man has since died in a car crash.
Officers are also braced for the possibility of a new feud breaking out in the locality between this relatively newly formed IRSP branch and a long-established, “small but very dangerous” INLA faction that has been operating in Co Cavan for years.
“A clash between these groups is very likely and it is a surprise it has not happened yet, really, as the newer branch say they are completely anti-drugs and are even offering help to people suffering from addiction,” a senior source pointed out.
“The more established group is involved primarily in drug dealing, machinery theft and theft from farms.
“They are exclusively criminal but operate under an INLA banner,” the source said.
“A main player in this organisation is suspected of importing drugs from England and the gang are suspected of making a lot of money from fake insurance claims.
“They are violent and they are organised.”