The emergence of a new dissident republican group has generated considerable debate about what this means for the future of the peace process. Some have issued grave warnings of serious attempts to overthrow the considerable progress made in recent years. Others however, have taken a more considered and pragmatic approach. Yes, the coming together of these disparate factions does present a threat to stability but it does not significantly increase the threat which already exists.
This is where the numbers game comes into play. The vast majority of the people of Ireland have voiced their determination, time and time again, that the peace process should succeed. That can’t be argued with.
On the other had we have a very, very small number of individuals - now reportedly banding together - who want to go against the will of the people and pursue a wholly unpopular campaign of violence.
The numbers simply do not add up.
Even at the height of the Troubles, the IRA could not claim to enjoy the full support of the majority of nationalist opinion in Ireland. We are now living in entirely different times where republicans jointly hold power with unionists so any claim that this new organisation - masquerading as the IRA - can attract even a modicum of public support is preposterous.
That, however, does not remove its ability to be dangerous. It only takes a handful of people to launch murderous attacks. But doing so against the express wishes of the vast majority will show this group up for what they really are; extremist thugs with no grasp on reality, committed only to violence.