‘IRA’ splinter groups most ‘potent’ in city

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There are as many republicans committed to violence against the State in Derry and Strabane as there are in Belfast, according to the independent reviewer of stop-an-search powers.

David Seymour, in his 11th report on stop-and-search, arrest, road closure and land possession provisions under the Justice and Security (NI) Act 2007, warns that the “intelligence picture was worrying.”

Mr. Seymour states that the PSNI response to complaints about stop-and-search powers in the city is that “they are being targeted against those who pose the greatest threat.”

He reports: “The intelligence picture is worrying and, inevitably, not fully understood by residents in the area. DR [dissident republican] activity in the Derry/Strabane area is particularly potent. In terms of population Derry/Strabane is well under half the size of Belfast but there are as many DRs in Derry/Strabane who pose a threat as there are in Belfast.

“Personal threats against officers who have exercised stop and search powers have, in some cases, caused them to be transferred to other districts.

“The PSNI have to be discrete about the situation because the community (and business in particular) do not want to see a negative image of Derry being promoted.”

Mr. Seymour reports that the security threat in the North emanates from five dissident republican groups whom he described as “the New IRA, the Continuity IRA (CIRA), Arm na Poblachta (ANP), Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH) and the Irish Republican Movement (IRM).”

The IRM was formed, he states, in late 2017 following infighting within ONH shortly before it declared a cessation of attacks against the State.

“The new IRA, ANP, CIRA and IRM remain opposed to the current political process and are firmly committed to the use of violence,” he said.