The terrorist group formed in 2012 has been increasingly active and claims the fight for independence in the 20th century. Attacks have multiplied and authorities have already raised alert levels.
The announcement set off some alarm bells: just days before the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement, which ended decades of conflict over the status of Northern Ireland, in a ceremony that US President Joe was due to attend Biden, MI5 raised the risk of a terrorist attack on the territory to “serious”, once again raising the specter of violence on the island.
MI5 raises Northern Ireland terror threat level to ‘serious’
The decision came just a year after he was demoted for the first time in 12 years. In practical terms, this means that MI5 and the Northern Ireland authorities estimate that the probability of a terrorist attack in the country is “very likely”.
The signs are impossible to ignore. About a month ago, John Caldwell, Chief Inspector of Police for Northern Ireland, was shot multiple times in an apparent assassination attempt, remaining until today receiving hospital care. She was giving soccer lessons to a group of kids, including her son. Previously, in November 2022, two police officers narrowly escaped a bomb attack. As early as 2019, a journalist was killed, caught in the middle of clashes, with the suspects awaiting trial.
New IRA takes responsibility for journalist’s death, apologizes
These are just a few examples of a pattern that has progressively developed, with repeated attacks and incidents in recent years. It is a trend that the authorities hope will continue, an expectation that is reflected in the measures that are now being taken.
What is the New IRA? The origins in the last decade and a fight from the past
Recent attacks have been claimed by the New IRA. Previously, the organization had already been responsible for an attempted bomb attack against two police officers in November 2022.
The New Irish Republican Army is understood as a continuation of the old paramilitary organization that, in the 20th century, waged bloody guerrilla campaigns for the unification of Ireland and independence from the United Kingdom. Its origins date back to 2012, when the former IRA merged with a number of other smaller guerrilla groups, including the RAAD – Republican Action Against Drugs.
On the occasion of the creation of this new group, a statement, signed by the “IRA Army Council”, made its motivations clear:
[Ao povo irlandês] Sold a fake peace, sealed by a law sign in Stormont [sede do parlamento norte-irlandês]. (…) The IRA’s mandate for armed struggle stems from the British refusal to recognize the fundamental right of the Irish people to self-determination and national sovereignty”.
However, although the independence “witness” was assumed by the New IRA, there are differences between this new group and the one that, for decades, fought in the conflicts in Northern Ireland. This IRA (also known as the Provisional IRA) declared a ceasefire in 1997 and officially ended its armed struggle in 2005, although the organization itself has persisted over the years.
The IRA name itself is not unique, having been used by various paramilitary organizations over the past century, usually due to internal divisions and splits between groups. Acronym longevity test, the The first use of the name dates back to the Irish War of Independence, which was fought over a century ago, between 1919 and 1921..
But more than the name, it is the ideal of independence (and the armed struggle to achieve it) that has persisted. This month, when announcing the increase in the alert level, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, has taken care to underline it, stating that “now is not the time for complacency” and that “there is a minority who still seeks to harm Northern Ireland.”