A new militant republican organization has emerged in Northern Ireland to threaten the peace process, the body monitoring the paramilitary ceasefires warned on Thursday.
The International Monitoring Commission (IMC), which was set up to report on the status of the ceasefires, identified the organization Oglaigh na hEireann (Army of Ireland) as active in killings, riots and targeting police officers for assassination. It is opposed to the peace strategy of Sinn Fein and the mainstream Irish Republican Army (IRA).
In its 17th report, the commission also stated that members and past members of the Provisional IRA were involved in the murder of a south Armagh man, Paul Quinn, in October. He was beaten to death in a farmhouse shed by up to a dozen men and his family have accused local members of the Provisional IRA of organizing and carrying out the murder.
The commission blamed Oglaigh na hEireann for the murder in February of Andrew Burns, a local member of the organization, which has its base in Strabane, County Tyrone. It said the organization believed Burns, shot dead in County Donegal, was working as a police informer.
The IMC blamed the new organization for bomb attacks on the Strabane police station and accused it of orchestrating violence at local St Patrick’s Day parades also directed at police.
Oglaigh na hEireann had been “seriously active” over the last six months, the commission said.
The IMC’s chairman, Lord Alderdice, would not say which larger republican group the new organization had evolved from. It is understood that the movement is made up of former activists from the Provisional IRA’s defunct East Tyrone brigade, one of the most active and dedicated paramilitary forces during the Troubles.
“Oglaigh na hEireann remains a continuing and serious threat, including to the lives of members of the security forces,” the commission said.