terrorism report | 

Dissident Republican activity was disrupted due to Covid-19, report states

14 terrorism-related arrests were reported in Ireland in the last year

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Clodagh MeaneySunday World

A Europol report on terrorism has stated that Dissident Republican activity was disrupted thanks to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Released annually, The Terrorism Situation and Trend Report details the situation and trends observed in terrorism across the EU member states.

On review of the past year, the report states: “No terrorist attacks were perpetrated by Dissident Republican (DR) groups in the Member States.”

“Disruption by law enforcement and the COVID-19 restrictions has had a suppressive effect and the number of attacks in Northern Ireland continued to drop, with two failed attacks on national security targets reported in 2021.”

One of the ‘failed attacks’ mentioned was the March 2021 shooting directed at Enniskillen police station.

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READ MORE:Republican inmate kicked off dissident wing at Portlaoise Prison after phones and drugs find The report alleges that the Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) were behind the incident which reported no casualties.

The other attack referenced was the April 2021 pipe bomb attack on an off-duty police officer in Dungiven which it has been alleged the new Irish Republican Army (nIRA) were responsible.

Further to this, the Europol report says that in Northern Ireland the main threat of terrorism comes from the NIRA and the CIRA.

“Both groups rely on a support network of members active in Northern Ireland (UK) and the Republic of Ireland. “

“Both the NIRA and CIRA maintained the intent and capabilities to conduct attacks, with police, military and prison officers as the preferred targets.”

The report also says that Loyalist paramilitary groups are concerned about the repercussions of the UK’s exit from the EU.

“There is a growing perception in the loyalist community that their identity and culture is under threat.”

It was further stated that DRs and other paramilitary groups, both republican and loyalist, engaged in violence and intimidation “against their own communities.”

Activities included drug trafficking, extortion, fuel laundering, and murder.

In 2021, there were 15 terror attacks reported in the EU, down from 57 in 2020.

Ireland reported no attacks in 2021, however, there were 14 arrests.

In total 7 people were arrested in connection with Ethno-nationalist and Separatist Terrorism, 1 person was arrested in connection with Right-Wing Terrorism and 4 people were arrested in connection with Jihadist Terrorism.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on terrorism was particularly visible in terms of shaping extremist narratives,” Executive Director of Europol, Catherine De Bolle, said.

“This has made some individuals more vulnerable to radicalisation and recruitment into terrorism and extremism. Social isolation and more time spent online have exacerbated the risks posed by violent extremist propaganda and terrorist content, particularly among younger people and minors.”

“The societal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will stay with us for some time and we must remain vigilant about some of the long-term challenges that follow on from this unprecedented crisis.”

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