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Active Ra-cruitment 'New IRA' launches significant recruitment drive in Dublin

Members of the organisation have been meeting on a weekly basis in a south Dublin "club" in which "republican strategy as well as membership issues" are discussed.

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Kevin Braney

Kevin Braney

Kevin Braney

THE New IRA is involved in a "significant" recruitment drive in Dublin after a number of major policing operations in Northern Ireland have put the terrorist organisation under severe pressure.

It can be revealed that the garda Special Detective Unit (SDU) has been carrying out ongoing operations in the Inchicore, Crumlin, Drimnagh, Clondalkin and Tallaght areas of the capital.

This involves ongoing surveillance and "stop-and-search" operations in which suspected dissident republicans are searched for weapons or other illegal material.

Members of the organisation have been meeting on a weekly basis in a south Dublin "club" in which "republican strategy as well as membership issues" are discussed.

It is estimated that the New IRA has around 50 active members in the Republic of Ireland with more than half of these being based in Dublin.

Members of the organisation have been meeting on a weekly basis in a south Dublin "club" in which "republican strategy as well as membership issues" are discussed.

Many of the main players are involved in security businesses across Dublin and gardaí are aware that a main recruiter has returned to the capital from abroad.

Sources say many of the capital's New IRA members feel they are being subjected to a "campaign of ongoing harassment" by the SDU but gardaí are working on security assessments that have described the threat level in the North as "severe", especially with ongoing tensions over Brexit.

Sources have revealed that one of the main players in the New IRA's recruitment campaign is a young Tallaght man who is a close associate of the organisation's former Dublin leader, Kevin Braney (46), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght.

Braney is currently serving a life sentence in Ireland's highest security prison in Portlaoise for the "premeditated" murder of fellow dissident republican Peter Butterly (35).

It is understood Braney is still actively involved in dissident activity despite being locked up.

Braney is among a group of over 20 "New IRA" inmates on the E wing of Portlaoise Prison.

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Another major player in the New IRA in the Republic is a Clondalkin man aged in his 50s who was recently released from prison where he served a lengthy sentence for explosives offences. He also previously served a prison sentence for membership of the IRA.

"This is an individual of major substance in dissident republican circles and since his release from jail, he has been putting major pressure on drug dealers in the Clondalkin area," a source said.

"Again he has an active role in recruiting people to be foot soldiers with the vast majority of these being males aged in their 20s who were not previously known to gardaí."

According to the garda's annual policing report published last week, the SDU carried out an operation in August last year targeting the New IRA. It also undertook "intelligence-led operations" into violent extremist groups.

Last year's investigation was part of major cross-Border operation targeting the New IRA with multiple searches linked to leading dissident republicans in the North.

There were ten arrests in the North and six searches carried out in the Republic resulting in no arrests.

In Dublin, one of those targeted by the SDU was a 53-year-old north inner-city criminal who has a previous conviction for handling stolen property and has been a target for specialist gardaí for years.

Another of those targeted in the capital was a 60-year-old Crumlin man who was previously jailed at Portlaoise Prison for IRA membership and also has a previous conviction for being involved in an armed robbery.

Sources say the Crumlin man remains the "key target" of officers investigating dissident republicans in the Republic and is suspected of being a "mastermind" behind the current recruitment drive.

The New IRA, who are said to be heavily opposed to drug dealing, have not allowed former associates of slain Real IRA boss Alan Ryan into their organisation after a massive split in the dissident movement nine years ago, according to sources.

The New IRA has admitted one of its members was responsible for killing journalist Lyra McKee (29) who was shot dead on April 18, 2019 while watching a riot in the Creggan area of Derry.

More than a dozen Derry-based dissidents connected to the incident are now facing criminal charges in the North with the murder also leading to "Operation Arbacia" - the MI5 safe-house bugging operation that has seen nine men and women charged with directing New IRA terrorism.

Sources say this has had the "net effect" of more recruitment in the Republic as the terror mob plan to exploit Brexit tensions in the North in the coming months.

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