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Tout to get us New IRA leadership suspect another informant is in their midst as paranoia grips gang

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Double agent: MI5 superspy Dennis McFadden seriously damaged the New IRA

Double agent: MI5 superspy Dennis McFadden seriously damaged the New IRA

Double agent: MI5 superspy Dennis McFadden seriously damaged the New IRA

The New IRA is becoming increasingly concerned that there is another tout in their midst.

The Sunday World can reveal that the levels of paranoia among members of the dissident gang are at an all-time high as police swoop in and make more arrests.

In the past two weeks eight people have been arrested in connection with suspected NIRA activities across the North, one being a heavily pregnant Belfast woman.

The arrests are part of joint PSNI/MI5 investigation know as Operation Arbacia which has already resulted in terrorist charges being pressed against the NIRA’s suspected leadership last August.

It was revealed then that the arrests were linked to the role of MI5 agent Dennis McFadden who had infiltrated the NIRA and its political wing Saoradh.

McFadden, who has since disappeared, was at the time blamed for bringing down the NIRA and instilling fear among members who have now began to distrust each other.

The recent spate of arrests had deepened this distrust.

“Everything went quiet after Dennis McFadden, there were hardly any arrests but then all of a sudden, in a short period of time, people are being lifted left, right and centre. There are serious concerns that we have another McFadden who has not been identified and MI5 are just getting ready to go again,” said one dissident source.

“The PSNI and the spooks are obviously acting on new information, if they had of had it at the time McFadden was spilling his guts then they would have used it then so someone else is obviously talking.

“There is not a good feeling amongst the leaders or the members. To put it bluntly, no one trusts anyone 100 per cent at the minute,” he said.

The Sunday World understands that the leadership of the dissident criminal gang fear media reports of the arrests will damage their recruitment drive.

“Not only will this lead to some members turning their backs it will also discourage those who are thinking of joining up from coming forward. You would think twice wouldn’t you? We hardly look to be very solid at the minute,” a Belfast source explained.

“The other thing here is that any planned operations could be affected. I can tell you one thing I wouldn’t be putting my hand up to plan or take part in any form of operation in this current climate. It’s just too unstable.”

The New IRA have also recently come up with a plan to stop the media reporting on suspects arrested and brought before the courts.

They have been told to apply for anonymity orders in court to prevent their name, address and other details of their case being reported by the press.

“That’s the latest move, say your life is in danger because of the nature of the false charges being brought against you, and ask the judge to grant an anonymity order. The plan is to keep the attention of the media to a minimum,” the source added.

Last Wednesday detectives from Strand Road, along with colleagues from the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigation Unit investigating dissident republicans, made four other arrests.

Detective Inspector Finlay said: “The men, aged 49, 21 and 19 years old were arrested under the Terrorism Act. A 61-year-old man has also been arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of Justice. All four men are currently assisting police with their inquiries.

“The proactive policing operation conducted today outlines our commitment to tackling serious crime in our communities,”

MI5 said: “It (the New IRA) still exists and is still dangerous.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, Head of Serious Crime Branch, said: “Since the arrest and charging of eight men and two women last August, police have continued examining lines of inquiry in connection with this ongoing investigation into the activities of the New IRA.

“These arrests demonstrate that despite significant progress against the New IRA, we cannot be complacent about investigating their activities.

“The New IRA continues to pose a danger, especially to the communities in the areas they live and conduct their activities.

“I would ask that anyone with information on their activities, especially the brutal attacks they carry out or the location of the guns and explosives which they often leave in public areas, to tell the police. Our investigations are most effective when police and communities work together.”

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