The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 1st February 2019

MI5 deploys more agents to northern Ireland

by New Worker correspondent

MI5 HAS DEPLOYED more than 700 spies in Belfast, the Daily Mail reports, as part of a massive anti-terrorist operation in the area. It comes amidst concerns that the so-called ‘New IRA’ may capitalise on the possible return of a hard Irish border after Brexit so as to fuel a fresh conflict.

The newspaper cited Brian Kenna, a former IRA prisoner and chair of the Revolutionary Republican Party Saoradh, as saying that: “Britain still rules the Six Counties of [northern] Ireland and this is going to lead to renewed conflict.” Kenna was echoed by Patrick Carty, one of Saoradh’s leaders, who specifically singled out Brexit’s potential, which he warned may “break up the British state”.

“With the inevitable infrastructure of a hard border imminent, this will drive home to the Irish people the partition of our country…and as history teaches us, it will inevitably stoke the fires of resistance against British rule in Ireland,” Carty said earlier this month. MI5’s focus on the New IRA comes after the group’s hard-liners staged a car bomb blast outside a courthouse in Derry on 19th January. No one was injured in the explosion.

Northern Ireland acting chief constable Barbara Gray told the Times that police have found arms and explosives, and that the New IRA still have the capability to conduct more attacks. According to her: “The threat is nothing like we experienced in the past, but these people are intent on violence and they are not going away.”

The newspaper also cited an unnamed counterterrorism source as saying that: “There is a reason MI5 has about 20 per cent of its total strength in Belfast and last weekend was a timely reminder of that reason.” A dissident group known as the New Irish Republican Army (IRA) was established in 2012 as a result of the merger of several republican paramilitary organisations. The group, which includes about 40 hard-liners, seeks a united Ireland and rejects northern Ireland’s current political institutions.