Northern Ireland The Forgotten War
These posts are not to promote any paramilitary group it is merely showing incidents that the RGJ might have been caught up in during their tours.
The Real Irish Republican Army or the Real IRA, also referred to as the New IRA, is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation which aims to bring about a united Ireland. It formed in the year 1997 following a split in the Provisional IRA, which had declared a ceasefire that year. Like the Provisional IRA before it, the RIRA sees itself as the only rightful successor to the original Irish Republican Army and styles itself as simply “the Irish Republican Army” in English or Óglaigh na hÉireann in Irish. It is an illegal organisation in the Republic of Ireland and designated as a terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Since its formation, the RIRA has waged a campaign in Northern Ireland against the British Army and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), formerly the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The RIRA is the biggest and most active of the “dissident republican” paramilitaries operating against the British security forces. It has targeted the security forces in gun attacks and bombings, as well as with grenades, mortars and rockets. The organisation has also been responsible for a number of bombings in Northern Ireland and England with the goal of causing economic harm and/or disruption. The most notable of these was the 15th of August in 1998 Omagh bombing, which killed 29 people. After the bombing, the RIRA went on ceasefire, but began operations again in 2000. In the of March 2009, it claimed responsibility for an attack on Massereene Barracks that killed two British soldiers, the first to be killed in Northern Ireland since 1997.
The Real IRA has also been involved in vigilantism, mainly against alleged drug dealers and organized crime gangs. In Dublin particularly, it has been accused of extorting and engaging in feuds with these gangs.
In the July of 2012, it was reported that Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) and other small republican militant groups were merging with the Real IRA. As before, the group continues to refer to itself as “the Irish Republican Army”.
In the July of 1997, the Provisional IRA called a ceasefire. On the 10th of October 1997, a Provisional IRA General Army Convention was held in Falcarragh, County Donegal. At the convention, Provisional IRA Quartermaster General Michael McKevitt, also a member of the 12-person Provisional IRA Executive, denounced the leadership and called for an end to the group’s ceasefire and to the participation in the Northern Ireland peace process. He was backed by his partner and fellow Executive member Bernadette Sands-McKevitt. The pair were out-manoeuvred by the leadership, and a key ally, Kevin McKenna, was voted off the IRA Army Council leaving the two dissidents isolated. The convention backed the pro-ceasefire line, and on the 26th of October McKevitt and Sands-McKevitt resigned from the Executive along with several other members.
In the November of 1997, McKevitt and other dissidents held a meeting in a farmhouse in Oldcastle, County Meath, and a new organisation, styling itself Óglaigh na hÉireann, was formed. The organisation attracted disaffected Provisional IRA members from Derry and the republican stronghold of South Armagh, as well as other areas including Dublin and Belfast cities and Counties Limerick, Tipperary, Louth, Tyrone, Monaghan, and Kerry.
The name “Real IRA” entered common usage when members had a roadblock in Jonesborough, County Armagh and told motorists “We’re from the IRA. The real IRA”.
The RIRA’s ultimate objective is a united Ireland by forcing the end of British sovereignty over Northern Ireland through the use of physical force. The organisation rejects the Mitchell Principles and the Good Friday Agreement, comparing the latter to the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty which resulted in the partition of Ireland. The organisation aims to uphold an uncompromising form of Irish republicanism and opposes any political settlement that falls short of Irish unity and independence.
Sands-McKevitt, sister of hunger striker Bobby Sands and a founder of the RIRA’s political wing, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, said in an interview that “Bobby did not die for cross-border bodies with executive powers. He did not die for nationalists to be equal British citizens within the Northern Ireland state”. The RIRA adopts similar tactics to those used by the Provisional IRA in the 1990s, primarily using bombs in town centres to damage the economic infrastructure of Northern Ireland. The organisation also attempts to kill members of the security forces using land mines, home-made mortars and car bombs, and targets England using incendiary and car bombs to “spread terror and disruption”.
The organisation’s first action was an attempted bombing in Banbridge, County Down on the 7th of January 1998. The plot involved a 300 lb (140 kg) car bomb, but it was thwarted after being defused by security forces. The organisation continued its campaign in late February, with bombings in Moira, County Down and Portadown, County Armagh. On the 9th of May the organisation formally announced its existence in a coded telephone call to Belfast media claiming responsibility for a mortar attack on a police station in Belleek, County Fermanagh.
The organisation also carried out attacks in Newtownhamilton and Newry, and a second attack in Banbridge on the 1st of August injured 35 people and caused £3.5 million of damage when a 500 lb (230 kg) car bomb explodedDespite these attacks the RIRA lacked a significant base and was heavily infiltrated by informers. This led to a series of high-profile arrests and seizures by the Garda Síochána in the first half of 1998, including the death of member Rónán Mac Lochlainn who was shot dead trying to escape from police following an attempted robbery of a security van in County Wicklow.
On the 15th of August 1998 the RIRA left a car containing 500 lb of home-made explosives in the centre of Omagh, County Tyrone. The bombers could not find a parking space near the intended target of the courthouse, and the car was left 400 metres away. As a result three inaccurate telephone warnings were issued, and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) believed the bomb was actually located outside the courthouse. They attempted to establish a security cordon to keep civilians clear of the area, which inadvertently pushed people closer to the actual location of the bomb. Shortly after, the bomb exploded killing 29 people and injuring 220 others, in what became the single deadliest strike of the Troubles.
The bombing caused a major outcry throughout the world, and the Irish and British governments introduced new legislation in an attempt to destroy the organisation. The RIRA also came under pressure from the Provisional IRA, when Provisional IRA members visited the homes of 60 people connected with the RIRA and ordered them to disband and stop interfering with Provisional IRA arms dumps. With the organisation under intense pressure, which included McKevitt and Sands-McKevitt being forced from their home after the media named McKevitt in connection with the bombing, the RIRA called a ceasefire on 8th of September.
Following the declaration of the ceasefire the RIRA began to regroup, and by the end of October had elected a new leadership and were planning their future direction. In late December Irish government representative Martin Mansergh held a meeting with McKevitt in Dundalk, in an attempt to convince McKevitt to disband the RIRA. McKevitt refused, stating that members would be left defenceless to attacks by the Provisional IRA. In 1999 the RIRA began preparations for a renewed campaign, and in May three members travelled across Europe to Split in Croatia to purchase arms which were subsequently smuggled back to Ireland. On the 20th of October ten people were arrested when Gardaí raided a RIRA training camp near Stamullen, County Meath.
Officers found a firing range inside a disused wine cellar being used as an underground bunker, and seized weapons including an assault rifle, a submachine gun, a semi-automatic pistol and an RPG-18 rocket launcher. An earlier version of the rocket launcher, the RPG-7, had been in the possession of the Provisional IRA from as early as 1972, but this was the first time the RPG-18 had been found in the possession of a paramilitary organisation in Ireland. Among those convicted were Alan Ryan, who was on bail for possession of a loaded revolver at his home in Dublin.
Return to activity
On the 20th of January 2000 the RIRA issued a call-to-arms in a statement to the Irish News. The statement condemned the Northern Ireland Executive, and stated: “Once again, Óglaigh na hÉireann declares the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland. We call on all volunteers loyal to the Irish Republic to unite to uphold the Republic and establish a permanent national parliament representative of all the people.” The RIRA launched its new campaign on the 25th of February with an attempted bombing of Shackleton Army Barracks in Ballykelly. The bombers were disturbed as they were assembling the device, which would have caused mass murder if detonated, according to soldiers
On the 29th of February a rocket launcher similar to one seized in the 1999 raid was found near an army base in Dungannon, County Tyrone, and on the 15th of March three men were arrested following the discovery of 500 lb of home-made explosives when the RUC searched two cars in Hillsborough, County Down. On the 6th April a bomb attack took place at Ebrington Barracks in Derry. RIRA members lowered a device consisting of 5 lb of homemade explosives over the perimeter fence using ropes, and the bomb subsequently exploded damaging the fence and an unmanned guardhouse.
Bombings in England
After the Omagh bombing, the RIRA leadership were unwilling to launch a full-scale campaign in Northern Ireland due to the possibility of civilians being killed. Instead they decided to launch a series of attacks in England, in particular London, which they hoped would attract disenchanted Provisional IRA members to join the RIRA. On the 1st of June 2000 a bomb damaged Hammersmith Bridge; a symbolic target for Irish republican paramilitary groups. The bridge had previously been targeted by the Irish Republican Army on the 29th of March 1939 as part of its Sabotage Campaign, and by the Provisional IRA on the 24th of April 1996.
One month later on the 19th of July, security forces carried out a controlled explosion on a bomb left at Ealing Broadway station and public transport was disrupted when the Metropolitan Police closed Victoria and Paddington train stations and halted services on the London Underground. On the 21st of September a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the MI6 headquarters using an RPG-22 rocket launcher, which generated headlines around the world. On the 21st of February 2001 a bomb disguised as a torch left outside a Territorial Army base in Shepherd’s Bush seriously injured a 14-year-old cadet, who was blinded and had his hand blown off. A second attack in Shepherd’s Bush, the 4th of March BBC bombing, injured a civilian outside the BBC Television Centre. The explosion was captured by a BBC cameraman, and the footage was broadcast on TV stations worldwide, and gained mass publicity for the group. On the 14th of April a bomb exploded at a postal sorting office in Hendon, causing minor damage but no injuries. Three weeks later on 6 May a second bomb exploded at the same building, causing slight injuries to a passer-by. On the 3rd of August Ealing bombing injured seven people, and on the 3rd of November a car bomb containing 60 lb of home-made explosives was planted in the centre of Birmingham. The bomb did not fully detonate and no one was injured.
Renewed campaign in Northern Ireland
The successful attack on Hammersmith Bridge encouraged the RIRA leadership to launch further attacks in Northern Ireland. On the 19th of June 2000 a bomb was found in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle, home of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson. On the 30th of June a bomb exploded on the Dublin-to-Belfast railway line near the village of Meigh in County Armagh. The explosion damaged the tracks, and caused disruption to train services. On the 9th of July a car bomb damaged buildings in Stewartstown, County Tyrone including an RUC station, and on the 10th of August an attack in Derry was thwarted by the RUC after a van containing a 500 lb bomb failed to stop at a police checkpoint. Following a car chase the bombers escaped across the Irish border, and the Irish Army carried out a controlled explosion on the bomb after the van was found abandoned in County Donegal. On the 13th of September two 80 lb bombs were planted at the Magilligan army camp in County Londonderry, one of which was planted in a wooden hut and partially exploded when a soldier opened the door to the hut. The second bomb was found during a follow-up search and made safe by bomb disposal experts. On the 11th of November the RUC and British Army prevented a mortar attack after stopping a van near Derrylin, County Fermanagh, and the RUC prevented a further attack on the 13th of January 2001 when an 1100 lb bomb was found in Armagh — the largest bomb found in several years according to the RUC.
On the 23rd of January the RIRA attacked Ebrington Army Barracks in Derry for a second time, firing a mortar over a perimeter fence. A mortar similar to the one used in the attack was found by Gardaí near Newtowncunningham on the 13th of February, and British army bomb disposal experts made safe another mortar found between Dungannon and Carrickmore on the 12th of April. On the 1st of August a 40 lb bomb was discovered in a car at the long stay car park of Belfast International Airport following a telephone warning, and was made safe with two controlled explosions by bomb disposal experts. In the December a six-day security operation ended when a 70 lb bomb found under railway tracks at Killeen Bridge near Newry was successfully defused. The operation began following a number of telephone warnings, and both the road and railway line connecting Newry to Dundalk were closed due to security alerts. A pipe bomb was discovered at a police officer’s home in Annalong, County Down on the 3rd of January 2002, and two teenage boys were injured in County Armagh on 2 March when a bomb hidden in a traffic cone exploded. On the 29th of March 2002 the RIRA targeted a former member of the Royal Irish Regiment from Sion Mills, County Tyrone, with a bomb attached to his car that failed to explode. On the 1st of August 2002 a civilian worker was killed by an explosion at a Territorial Army base in Derry. The man, a 51-year-old former member of the Ulster Defence Regiment, was the thirtieth person killed by the RIRA.
Despite the RIRA’s renewed activity, the organisation became increasingly weaker due to the arrest of key members and continued infiltration by informers. McKevitt was arrested on the 29th of March 2001 and charged with membership of an illegal organisation and directing terrorism, and remanded into custody. In the July of 2001, following the arrests of McKevitt and other RIRA members, British and Irish government sources hinted that the organisation was now in disarray. Other key figures were jailed, including the RIRA’s Director of Operations, Liam Campbell, who was convicted of membership of an illegal organisation, and Colm Murphy who was convicted of conspiring to cause the Omagh bombing, although this conviction was later overturned on appeal.
On the 10th of April 2002, Ruairi Convey, from Donaghmede, Dublin was jailed for three years for membership of the RIRA. During a search of his home a list of names and home addresses of members of the Gardaí’s Emergency Response Unit was found. Five RIRA members were also convicted in connection with the 2001 bombing campaign in England, and received sentences varying from 16 years to 22 years imprisonment. In the October of 2002, McKevitt and other RIRA members imprisoned in Portlaoise Prison issued a statement calling for the organisation to stand down. After a two-month trial, McKevitt was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment in August 2003 after being convicted of directing terrorism.
After McKevitt’s imprisonment, the RIRA regrouped. The RIRA claimed responsibility for a series of firebomb attacks against premises in Belfast in the November of 2004, and an attack on a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) patrol in Ballymena during March 2006 was attributed to the RIRA by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). On the 9th of August 2006 a number of fire bomb attacks by the RIRA hit businesses in Newry, County Down. Buildings belonging to JJB Sports and Carpetright were destroyed, and ones belonging to MFI and TK Maxx were badly damaged. On the 27th of October 2006, a large amount of explosives was found in Kilbranish, Mount Leinster, County Carlow by police, who believe the RIRA were trying to derail the peace process with a bomb attack. The IMC believe the RIRA were also responsible for a failed mortar attack on Craigavon PSNI Station on the 4th of December 2006. The IMC’s October 2006 report stated that the RIRA remains “active and dangerous” and that it seeks to “sustain its position as a terrorist organisation”. The RIRA has previously stated it has no intention of calling a ceasefire unless a declaration of intent to withdraw from Northern Ireland is made by the British Government.
In a lengthy interview with An Phoblacht newspaper in 2003, the leadership of the Provisional IRA said that the RIRA had “no coherent strategy”.
The Real IRA were suspected of complicity in the murder in the December of 2006 of drug-dealer Martin ‘Marlo’ Hyland. Hyland was shot dead at his Dublin home, along with a plumber, Anthony Campbell, who was carrying out work at the house. The organisation was embroiled in a feud with Hyland’s gang at the time.
On the 8th of November 2007 two RIRA members shot an off-duty PSNI officer as he sat in his car on Bishop Street in Derry, causing injuries to his face and arm. On the 12th of November another PSNI member was shot by RIRA members in Dungannon, County Tyrone. On the 7th of February 2008, the RIRA stated that, after experiencing a three-year period of reorganisation, it intends to “go back to war” by launching a new offensive against “legitimate targets”. It also, despite having initially apologised for the Omagh bombing, denied any large scale involvement with the attack and said that their part had only gone as far as their codeword being used. On the 12th of May 2008 the RIRA seriously injured a member of the PSNI when a booby trap bomb exploded underneath his car near Spamount, County Tyrone. On the 25th of September 2008 the RIRA shot a man in the neck in St Johnston, near the Derry border. The same man was targeted in a pipe bomb attack on his home on the 25th of October, the RIRA did not claim responsibility for the attack, but security forces believe they were responsible for it.
On the 7th of March 2009, the RIRA claimed responsibility for the 2009 Massereene Barracks shooting. This shooting occurred outside the Massereene Barracks as four soldiers were receiving a pizza delivery. Two soldiers were killed, and the other two soldiers and two deliverymen were injured. On the 3rd of April 2009 the RIRA in Derry claimed responsibility for carrying out a punishment shooting against a convicted rapist who was awaiting sentencing for raping a 15-year-old girl. The RIRA were also blamed for orchestrating rioting in the Ardoyne area of Belfast on the 13th of July 2009 as an Apprentice Boys parade was passing. A number of PSNI officers were injured in the rioting and at least one shot was fired at police. In the early November, the Independent Monitoring Commission released a report stating that the threat from the RIRA and other dissident republicans was at its most serious level since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
When drug dealer Sean Winters was shot dead in Portmarnock, north Dublin, in September 2010, the Real IRA “emerged as the chief suspects”. They were also suspected of shooting dead drugs gang leader Michael Kelly in Coolock in September 2011.
On the 5th of October 2010, a car bomb exploded outside a branch of the Ulster Bank on Culmore Road in Derry. Two police officers were slightly injured in the blast, which also damaged a hotel and other businesses. Several telephone warnings were received an hour prior to the blast allowing police to cordon off the area. The RIRA later claimed responsibility in a telephone call to the Derry Journal.
A large Real IRA explosives dump and arms cache were discovered in Dunleer, County Louth, by Gardaí in October 2010, following a weekend of searches and arrests in the east of the country. In addition, two Real IRA men were charged in Dublin’s non-jury Special Criminal Court of membership of an illegal organisation. At this time the Real IRA claimed responsibility for kidnapping and shooting dead of one of their members, Kieran Doherty, for alleged drug dealing. Further significant seizures of Real IRA arms and explosives were made by the Gardai during 2012 and 2013, leading to the arrest of over a dozen persons. In 2011 Michael Campbell, brother of Liam, was found guilty in Vilnius, Lithuania, of trying to purchase arms and explosives and was sentenced to twelve years in jail. In the October of 2013, Campbell was freed on appeal only to the have the Lithuanian Supreme Court order a retrial in June 2014. Campbell has maintained his innocence – accusing British intelligence of attempting to frame him. In the June of 2013 Gardai arrested eight people after a Real IRA meeting and uncovered a massive haul of the plastic explosive Semtex in two raids in Dublin. In the October of 2013 the Real IRA claimed responsibility for “executing” an alleged leading cocaine dealer in north Belfast.
Since the merger (“New IRA”)
On the 26th of July 2012, it was reported that Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) and other small republican militant groups were merging with the Real IRA. As before, the group would continue to refer to itself as “the Irish Republican Army”. It issued the following statement:
The leadership of the Irish Republican Army remains committed to the full realisation of the ideals and principles enshrined in the Proclamation of 1916.
In recent years the establishment of a free and independent Ireland has suffered setbacks due to the failure among the leadership of Irish nationalism and fractures within republicanism. The root cause of conflict in our country is the subversion of the nation’s inalienable right to self-determination and this has yet to be addressed. Instead the Irish people have been sold a phoney peace, rubber-stamped by a token legislature in Stormont.
Non-conformist republicans are being subjected to harassment, arrest and violence by the forces of the British crown; others have been interned on the direction of an English overlord. It is Britain, not the IRA, which has chosen provocation and conflict.
The IRA’s mandate for armed struggle derives from Britain’s denial of the fundamental right of the Irish people to national self-determination and sovereignty — so long as Britain persists in its denial of national and democratic rights in Ireland the IRA will have to continue to assert those rights.
The necessity of armed struggle in pursuit of Irish freedom can be avoided through the removal of the British military presence in our country, the dismantling of their armed militias and the declaration of an internationally observed timescale that details the dismantling of British political interference in our country.
After the merger, the media began to refer to the group as the “New IRA”. As well as RAAD, the alliance includes an east Tyrone group thought to be responsible for killing PSNI officer Ronan Kerr in 2011, and a Belfast group who badly wounded PSNI officer Peadar Heffron in 2010. The Continuity IRA, and the group often referred to as ONH, remain independent. The PSNI reckoned that the new group has a membership of “between 250 and 300 military activists, backed up by associates”. In the November of 2012 it claimed responsibility for shooting dead a Prison Officer near Craigavon, the first prison officer to be killed since 1993.
On the 3rd of September 2012 prominent Real IRA member Alan Ryan was shot dead in Dublin. Gardaí believed that he had been involved in a feud with major crime gangs from whom he was trying to extort money. In the aftermath of Ryan’s death an internal feud developed in the Real IRA. Ryan’s replacement as leader and another associate were shot, but not fatally, in November 2012, allegedly on the orders of the Northern leadership. In the February of 2013 several associates of Ryan were arrested for extortion in Sligo. In the March of 2013, another prominent ex-member of the Real IRA, Peter Butterly from Dunleer, was shot dead; three Dublin men, allegedly from the Alan Ryan faction, who were also charged with membership of an illegal organisation, were charged with his murder.
In the February of 2014 the group sent seven letter bombs to British Army recruitment offices in south-east England; the first time republicans had struck in Britain since 2001. The following month, a PSNI landrover was hit by an explosively formed projectile in Belfast. A civilian car was also hit by debris, but there were no injuries. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.
Structure and status
The RIRA has a command structure similar to the Provisional IRA, with a seven-member Army Council consisting of a chief of staff, quartermaster general, director of training, director of operations, director of finance, director of publicity, and adjutant general. The rank-and-file members operate in active service units of covert cells to prevent the organisation from being compromised by informers. As of June 2005, the organisation is believed to have a maximum of about 150 members, according to a statement by the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell.
The RIRA also has a political wing, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (formerly the 32 County Sovereignty Committee), led by Francis Mackey. The RIRA is distinct from the Continuity IRA, another Provisional IRA splinter group founded in 1986, although the two groups have been known to co-operate at a local level. The Provisional IRA has been hostile to the RIRA and issued threats to RIRA members, and in the October of 2000 was alleged to be responsible for the fatal shooting of Belfast RIRA member Joe O’Connor according to O’Connor’s family and 32 County Sovereignty Movement member Marian Price.
The RIRA is an illegal organisation under Irish and UK law (section 11(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000) because of the use of ‘IRA’ in the group’s name. Membership of the organisation is punishable by a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment under UK law. In 2001 the United States government designated the RIRA as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO). This makes it illegal for Americans to provide material support to the RIRA, requires American financial institutions to freeze the group’s assets, and denies suspected RIRA members visas into the United States.
In 2014, Forbes Magazine estimated the group’s annual turnover at $50 million. According to the police in Northern Ireland, the main sources of the Real IRA’s funding are illegal fuel operations and various smuggling activities.
The RIRA initially took small amounts of materiel from Provisional IRA arms dumps under the control of McKevitt and other former Provisional IRA members, including the plastic explosive Semtex, Uzi submachine guns, AK-47 and AK-74 assault rifles, handguns, shotguns, detonators, and timing devices. The defection of senior Provisional IRA members also gave the RIRA the ability to manufacture home-made explosives and improvised mortars, including the Mark 15 mortar capable of firing a 200 lb shell.
In 1999 the organisation supplemented its equipment by importing arms from Croatia, including military explosive TM500, CZ Model 25 submachine guns, modified AK-47 assault rifles with a folding stock, and RPG-18 and RPG-22 rocket launchers. But in the of July 2000 an attempt to smuggle a second consignment of arms was foiled by Croatian police, who seized seven RPG-18s, AK-47 assault rifles, detonators, ammunition, and twenty packs of TM500.
In 2001 RIRA members travelled to Slovakia to procure arms, and were caught in a sting operation by the British security agency MI5. The men attempted to purchase five tonnes of plastic explosives, 2,000 detonators, 500 handguns, 200 rocket-propelled-grenades, and also wire-guided missiles and sniper rifles. Three men from County Louth were arrested and extradited to the UK and subsequently imprisoned for 30 years each after pleading guilty to conspiring to cause explosions and other charges.
In the June of 2006, the PSNI made a number of arrests following an MI5 sting operation targeting a dissident republican gun smuggling plot. The RIRA had attempted to procure arms from France including Semtex and C-4 plastic explosives, SA-7 surface-to-air missiles, AK-47s, rocket launchers, heavy machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols with silencers, anti-tank weapons and detonators. On the 30th of June 2010, two of those arrested were found guilty following a trial by judge in Belfast. On the 1st of October 2010 one man was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for attempting to import weapons and explosives, while the other was sentenced to a term of 4 years imprisonment for making a Portuguese property available for the purpose of terrorism.
Events of the
Real Irish Republican Army
1998 to 2014
The group was formed in late 1997 by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army who disagreed with its ceasefire. The Real IRA is the biggest and most active of the “dissident republican” paramilitaries waging a campaign against the British security forces. The other main paramilitaries are the group which calls itself Óglaigh na hÉireann, and the Continuity IRA.
(For some of the incidents in 1998, it is unclear whether the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA, or both organizations were responsible. )
6th January 1998: A 500 lb car bomb was defused by the security forces in the centre of Banbridge, County Down. A telephoned warning had been sent.
20th February 1998: Following a telephoned warning, a 500 lb car bomb exploded outside the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base in Moira, County Down. Seven RUC officers and four civilians were hurt. The blast caused widespread damage.
23rd February 1998: Following a telephoned warning, a 300 lb car bomb exploded near the RUC base on Edward Street in Portadown, County Armagh. The blast caused widespread damage but no injuries.
10th March 1998: There was a barrack buster attack on the RUC base on Newry Road in Armagh. Five mortars were launched and three exploded on impact. People were evacuated from the surrounding area after the British Army spotted the launchers, and there were no injuries.
24th March 1998: There were two mortar attacks in South Armagh. Four mortars were fired at Forkill British Army/RUC base; one exploded inside the base but caused no injuries. A further two mortars were fired at a British Army watchtower at Glasdrumman, but fell short of the target. It is believed the RIRA was responsible.
30th April 1998: Following a telephoned warning, a 550–600 lb car bomb was defused in the centre of Lisburn. It is believed the RIRA was responsible.
1st May 1998: RIRA member Ronan Mac Lochlainn was shot dead by Gardaí during an attempted robbery of a cash-in-transit van in County Wicklow, Republic of Ireland.
4th May 1998: There was an attempted mortar attack on Grosvenor Road RUC base in Belfast. One of the mortars fell short of the target and the other exploded in its launch tube.
8th May 1998: The RIRA issued a statement declaring war on the United Kingdom.
9th May 1998: There was an attempted mortar attack on the RUC base in Belleek, County Fermanagh. The mortars fell short of the target and one exploded as the RUC was clearing the area. A claim of responsibility was made on behalf of the Real IRA.
16th May 1998: Following a telephoned warning, a 500 lb car bomb was defused near the RUC base in Armagh.
23rd June 198: The RIRA is believed to have been responsible for an explosion on a road near Forkill, County Armagh.
13th July 1998: Following a telephoned warning, a 635 lb car bomb was defused outside the courthouse in Newry. It is believed the RIRA was responsible.
21st July 1998: A mortar was fired at Corry Square RUC base in Newry, but fell short of the target and did not detonate. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.
28th July 1998: The RIRA was blamed for planting incendiary bombs in shops in Portadown.
1st August 1998: A 500 lb car bomb exploded in the centre of Banbridge, County Down. Telephoned warnings were sent but the bomb exploded before the area was fully evacuated. Two RUC officers and thirty-three civilians were hurt and the blast caused extensive damage. The Real IRA claimed responsibility.
15th August 1998: Omagh bombing: A 500 lb car bomb exploded in the centre of Omagh, County Tyrone. The bomb killed 29 civilians and wounded 220 others. This was the highest death toll from a single attack during the Troubles. Although warnings had been given 38 minutes beforehand, they proved to be insufficient.
18th August 1998: The RIRA announced it was suspending all military operations.
7th September 1998: The RIRA announced a ceasefire.
9th May 1999: A 2007 inquest heard how the RIRA were responsible for the killing of Brendan “Speedy” Fegan in Newry, County Down in 1999. It is believed Fegan was killed by the RIRA as a result of his alleged drug dealing activities.
20th January 2000: The RIRA announced an end to its ceasefire.
25th February: The RIRA is believed to have been responsible for a bomb attack against a British Army barracks in Ballykelly, County Londonderry. The Continuity IRA initially claimed responsibility for the blast but security sources said they believed it was in fact the RIRA who were responsible.
6th April 2000: The RIRA detonated a bomb at Ebrington British Army barracks in Derry. The bomb destroyed an unmanned guardhouse and damaged the perimeter fence.
14th April 2000: The RIRA were blamed for a failed mortar bomb attack on an army base in Roslea, County Fermanagh.
24th May2000: The RIRA were responsible for a mortar bomb attack on a British Army base in the village of Glassdrumman, County Armagh.
1st June 2000: The RIRA detonated a small bomb on Hammersmith Bridge in London, England.
19th June2000: A RIRA bomb was on a railway line at Ealing Broadway in London.
20th June 2000: The RIRA were responsible for a leaving an explosive device in the property of former Northern Ireland Secretary Of State Peter Mandelson in Hillsborough, County Down.
30th June 2000: The RIRA bombed the main Dublin-to-Belfast railway line near Meigh in County Armagh.
9th July 2000: The RIRA detonated a car bomb at Stewartstown RUC station, County Tyrone.
12th September 2000: The RIRA were responsible for planting two 80 lb bombs at Magilligan army base in Derry. Both bombs failed to detonate and were later defused by British Army bomb disposal experts.
13th September 2000: The RIRA were responsible for a mortar bomb attack on an RUC station in Armagh.
13th September 2000:The RIRA were responsible for planting two 80 lb bombs at Magilligan British Army camp in County Londonderry, one of which was planted in a wooden hut and partially exploded when a soldier opened the door to the hut. The second bomb was found during a follow-up search and made safe by bomb disposal experts.
22nd September 2000: The RIRA fired an RPG-22 anti-tank rocket at the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service in London.
13th October 2000: A RIRA member, Joseph O’Connor, was shot dead in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast. It is believed the Provisional IRA were responsible.
24th September 2000: The RIRA were responsible for detonating a 50 lb bomb on a railway line in Dunmurry, County Antrim.
1st November 2000: A RIRA booby trap bomb hidden in a traffic cone exploded in Castlewellan, County Down, seriously injuring an RUC officer who lost a leg and two fingers.
23rd January 2001: The RIRA were responsible for a mortar attack on Ebrington Barracks in Derry. One mortar landed inside the perimeter fence of the base after being fired from a parked van. No one was injured.
5th February 2001: The RIRA were responsible for a pipe bomb attack in which a couple were injured in Newcastle, County Down. The RIRA would later kill the man, in a gun attack a year later in the February of 2002.
21st February 2001: A RIRA bomb disguised as a torch exploded outside a British Army barracks in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, after a 14 year old army cadet picked it up; the explosion left the cadet completely blind and required the amputation of his left hand.
4th March 2001: The RIRA detonated a car bomb outside BBC headquarters in London, England. (See 4th March 2001 BBC bombing) The explosion was captured by a BBC cameraman and the footage was broadcast on TV stations worldwide, gaining mass publicity for the group.
14th April 2001: The RIRA was blamed for a small bomb explosion at a postal sorting office in Hendon, London, England.
23rd April 2001: The RIRA were blamed for a grenade attack on an RUC station in Derry.
6th May 2001: The RIRA was blamed for a small bomb explosion at a postal sorting office in Hendon, London, England. One man was wounded.
15th May 2001: The RIRA was blamed for a mortar attack on an army base in Bessbrook, County Armagh.
May 27th 2001: The RIRA were responsible for a failed rocket attack on an RUC station in Strabane, County Tyrone. The device contained just over one pound of Semtex.
8th June 2001: The RIRA was blamed for a gun attack at a polling station in Draperstown, County Tyrone. Two RUC officers and a civilian were wounded.
1st August 2001: The RIRA planted a 44 lb car bomb at Belfast International Airport. It was made safe by bomb disposal officers.
3rd August 2001: The RIRA detonated a car bomb in Ealing, west London, England (See 3rd August 2001 Ealing bombing).
22nd August 2001: The RIRA planted a small bomb on a bridge in Derry. The group gave a telephoned warning and the bomb was defused.
1st November: The RIRA were blamed for planting an incendiary device that partially exploded in a shop in Newry, County Down.
3rd November: The RIRA planted a car bomb in the centre of Birmingham, England. It failed to explode properly.
3rd January 2002: The RIRA carried out a pipe bomb attack on a police officer’s home in Annalong, County Down.
26th January 2002: The RIRA were believed to have been responsible for a blast bomb attack during disturbances in north Belfast. Three police officers and two soldiers were injured in the blast.
21st February 2002: The RIRA claimed responsibility for the killing of Matthew Burns in Castlewellan, County Down. It is believed the killing was a result of a personal feud between Burns and the RIRA.
3rd March 2002: Two teenage boys are injured with a RIRA booby trap bomb in Forkhill, County Armagh. The device was hidden inside a traffic cone when it exploded.
29th March 2002: The RIRA targeted a former member of the Royal Irish Regiment in Sion Mills, County Tyrone. A bomb was attached to his car but failed to explode.
13th April 2002: The RIRA were blamed for two bomb attacks on Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) stations in Downpatrick & Ardglass, County Down.
5th June 2002: The RIRA are believed to have been linked to a kidnapping in Ballyhornan, County Down.
17th July 2002: The RIRA claimed responsibility for an attack on a Police Service of Northern Ireland patrol car in Downpatrick, County Down. An explosive device was fired at the car but bounced off and failed to explode.
2nd August 2002: The RIRA was blamed for detonating a bomb at a British Territorial Army base in Derry. A civilian builder was killed in the blast.
20th October 2002: The RIRA claimed responsibility for an attempted bombing of Castlederg PSNI station, County Tyrone. A coffee jar bomb packed with shrapnel was thrown over the perimeter fence but failed to explode.
24th November 2002: The RIRA were believed to have been responsible for an attempted bombing of a motor tax office in Belfast. The operation was intercepted by undercover police and one of the bombers was severely injured after police fired a number of shots. Two men were arrested at the scene.
13th March 2003: The RIRA left a bomb in a van outside Laganside Courthouse in Belfast. It was defused by bomb disposal officers.
5th April 2003: The RIRA claimed it had sent an incendiary bomb to Maghaberry prison. The bomb was defused by the British army.
5th May 2003: The RIRA were responsible for an attempting bombing of a motor tax office in Belfast. The device, which was in a van parked outside the motor tax office in Upper Queen Street, contained three pipe bombs and three fuel containers.
19th June 2003: The RIRA abandoned a 1,200 lb van bomb on the outskirts of Derry. The Device was described as “one of the biggest ever found in the UK”.
17th August 2003: The RIRA killed Danny McGurk, a civilian, in West Belfast. The group later issued a statement offering an apology and saying that the killing was “criminally wrong and detracted from the goal of Irish liberation”.
3rd September 2003: The RIRA were blamed for leaving a roadside bomb near Bryansford, County Down. It was believed to have been meant for a passing PSNI patrol.
21st September 2003: The RIRA were blamed for firing a number of shots near the home of Social Democratic and Labour Party councillor Peter Fitzpatrick in Kilcoo, County Down. Fitzpatrick had recently denounced the group’s actions.
12th October 2003: The RIRA were responsible for an attempted bombing of a PSNI station in Roslea, County Fermanagh. A 130 lb car bomb was defused by the British army.
20th November 2003: The RIRA attempted to ambush PSNI and British Army members in Newcastle, County Down. The group claimed there was a bomb at the empty Enniskeen Hotel. However, this was a hoax meant to draw the police and army towards the real bomb. The time bomb was found and made safe.
4th February 2004: The RIRA claimed responsibility for planting a bomb inside a British Army base at Ballykelly, County Londonderry. It failed to explode.
26th March 2004: Four men were charged with RIRA membership after involvement in a RIRA firebomb attack on a house in Cork, Republic of Ireland.
8th May 2004: The RIRA were responsible for sending packages containing a number of bullets and a sympathy card to elected representatives on Newry & Mourne District Council. The packages were addressed to the District Policing Partnership members at SDLP premises and council offices in Newry, County Down.
8th September 2004: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a gun attack on Strand Road PSNI station in Derry. No one was injured but builders who were working on an extension in the fortified base had to dive for cover as the gunman opened fire.
30th September 2004: The RIRA were responsible for sending a parcel bomb to an SDLP councillor, Eamonn O’Neill in Castlewellan, County Down.
24th November 2004: The RIRA carried out a firebomb attack on a commercial premises in Belfast.
4th December 2004: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a PSNI station in Belleek, County Fermanagh.
6th November 2005: The RIRA were blamed for a hoax bomb alert at the Down Royal Racecourse in County Down. The bomb warning disrupted a two-day racing festival in when 9,000 racegoers had to be evacuated.
9th August 2006: The RIRA carried out a number of firebomb attacks on businesses in Newry, County Down. Buildings belonging to JJB Sports and Carpetright were destroyed, and ones belonging to MFI and TK Maxx were badly damaged.
13th August 2006: The RIRA claimed it left two devices on the Belfast–Dublin railway line in south County Armagh, between Newry and Dundalk. The alert caused massive disruption to railway and road traffic in the area.
16th August 2006: The RIRA were blamed for an attempted bombing on the home of an Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Ballyedmond in County Louth.
8th September 2006: The RIRA were blamed for a hoax bomb threat against a DPP meeting in Downpatrick, County Down.
1st November 2006: The RIRA were responsible for a number of fire bomb attacks on businesses in Belfast. Businesses such as Homebase, Smyths & JJB Sports were badly damaged.
4th December 2006: The RIRA are believed to have been responsible for a failed mortar attack on a PSNI Station in Craigavon, County Armagh.
18th July 2007: The RIRA claimed responsibility for the discovery of two bombs during a security alert in Newry, County Down. One of the devices exploded, while army experts carried out a controlled explosion on the other. It was claimed in a statement that the bombs were intended for use against members of the PSNI.
25th August 2007: The RIRA carried out a gun attack on the home of a former SDLP councillor, Pat Bradley, in Derry.
10th October 2007: An inquest heard how the RIRA were responsible for the murder of Brendan “Speedy” Fegan in Newry, County Down in 1999. It is believed Fegan was killed by the RIRA as a result of his alleged drug dealing activities.
8th November 2007: A PSNI officer was shot and wounded by the RIRA as he sat in his car on Bishop Street, Derry.
12th November 2007: A PSNI officer was shot and wounded by the RIRA in Dungannon, County Tyrone.
16th December 2007: The RIRA were blamed for a pipe bomb attack on a PSNI station in Strabane, County Tyrone.
7th February 2008: The RIRA announced that after a three-year period of reorganisation it was ready to “go back to war”.
14th February 2008: A former RIRA member, Andrew Burns, was killed by a small republican organisation, Óglaigh na hÉireann in the County Donegal village of Doneyloop.
12th May 2008: The RIRA exploded a booby-trap bomb underneath the car of a PSNI officer in Spamount, County Tyrone. The officer was pulled to safety by a passing motorist before the car was engulfed in flames.
9th September 2008: The IMC blamed the RIRA for the discovery of an under vehicle explosive device under the car of a civilian in Lisburn, County Antrim. It is believed the RIRA had mistaken the civilian for a member of the PSNI.
15th September 2008: The IMC blamed the RIRA for the discovery of a 100 lb bomb in Jonesborough, County Armagh.
25th September 2008: A man survived after being shot in the neck by the RIRA on the County Londonderry-County Donegal border. The same man was targeted in a pipe bomb attack on his home on 25th October, the RIRA did not claim responsibility for the attack, but security forces believe they were responsible for it.
19th November 2008: The IMC blamed the RIRA for the discovery of a coffee jar bomb near a PSNI station in Belfast.
19th December 2008: The RIRA claimed to have fired a rocket at police on patrol near Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh. Police immediately warned people to be careful, and carried out a search operation. Nothing was found.
7th March: 2009 Massereene Barracks shooting – The RIRA shot dead two British Army soldiers as they collected a delivery outside Massereene British Army Barracks in County Antrim. Two other soldiers and two civilian deliverymen were also wounded by gunfire.
2nd April 2009: The RIRA claimed responsibility for carrying out a punishment shooting in Derry against a convicted rapist who was awaiting sentencing for raping a 15-year-old girl.
12th April 2009: The RIRA claimed responsibility for shooting dead MI5 informant Denis Donaldson on 4th April 2006. Donaldson was shot dead at his cottage near Glenties, County Donegal, Republic of Ireland.
5th July 2009: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP William McCrea was warned of a death threat by the RIRA.
13th July 2009: The RIRA was blamed for shooting at the PSNI in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast during heavy rioting after an Orange Order parade.
28th August 2009: Armed RIRA members staged a roadblock in Meigh, County Armagh. A PSNI patrol in an unmarked patrol vehicle spotted the group, but withdrew fearing that their presence would provoke a gun battle.
29th August 2009: The IMC blamed the RIRA for the discovery of an improvised explosive near a school in Armagh. The device was defused by the British Army.
5th September 2009: The IMC blamed the RIRA for an attack on a man with iron bars and a sledge hammer in Strabane, County Tyrone.
17th September 2009: The RIRA claimed responsibility for targeting an individual with an under vehicle explosive device in Belfast. It is believed the individual was employed by an engineering company with PSNI & Defence contracts.
21st September 2009: The RIRA claimed responsibility for two pipe-bomb attacks on the homes of family members of a PSNI officer in Derry. One of the devices exploded and destroyed a car.
7th October 2009: The IMC blamed the RIRA for a hoax bomb alert outside a couthouse in Newry, County Down. The alert caused massive disruption for both businesses and traffic in the city.
8th October 2009: RIRA members fired a volley of shots over the coffin of RIRA member John Brady in Strabane, County Tyrone. Brady had died on 5th October in PSNI custody.
10th October 2009: The IMC blamed the RIRA for a hoax bomb alert at a courthouse in Strabane, County Tyrone. Armed and masked men hijacked a taxi in the town, claiming they had left a device in the vehicle and then ordered the driver to abandon the vehicle outside the courthouse. The alert caused massive disruption.
22nd October 2009: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a small explosion at a British Territorial Army base in North Belfast which caused damage to the perimeter fence.
19th November 2009: The IMC blamed the RIRA for the discovery of a “crude wire mortar type device” in Armagh.
21st November 2009: The IMC blamed the RIRA for an attempted assassination of a serving PSNI officer in Garrison, County Fermanagh. The operation was intercepted and a number of shots were exchanged between RIRA gunmen and police.
30th November 2009: The IMC blamed the RIRA for failed pipe bomb attack on a PSNI station in Strabane, County Tyrone. The Device which failed to explode was defused by the British army.
31st December 2009: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a gun attack on Crossmaglen PSNI station, County Armagh.
24th January 2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a gun attack on Crossmaglen PSNI station, County Armagh.
25th January 2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for shooting dead a man in Cork, Republic of Ireland. The RIRA claimed he was a drug dealer.
31st January 2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a PSNI station in Bessbrook, County Armagh.
3rd February2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for throwing a pipe bomb at Oldpark PSNI station in Belfast. The device exploded causing damage to a perimeter fence of the station.
22nd February 2010: The RIRA were blamed for detonating a 250 lb car bomb outside a courthouse in Newry, County Down. The bombers issued a code-worded warning that the bomb would explode within 30 minutes, but it exploded 17 minutes later while police were evacuating the area. The courthouse guardhut was heavily damaged.
24th February 2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for kidnapping and shooting dead Kieran Doherty. His body was found on the outskirts of Derry, near the County Donegal border. The RIRA said that Doherty was a RIRA member and that he had been killed for drug dealing.
12th March 2010: The PSNI claimed it had intelligence that a Press Officer for Sinn Féin in Derry was under threat from the RIRA.
19th March 2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for security alerts in Derry. At least three controlled explosions were carried out on suspect devices which had been left in various locations around the city.
21st March 2010: The RIRA were blamed for a gun attack on PSNI officers dealing with a “suspect device” on the Belfast–Dublin railway line near Newry, County Down. The device was found to be an “elaborate hoax”.
28th March 2010: Four masked and armed men, claiming to be RIRA volunteers, hijacked a van on Coshquin Road in Derry and left it outside “Blackthorn Amusements” in Bridgend, County Donegal. The hijacking sparked a security alert which caused disruption to traffic in the area.
22nd April 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for a car bomb attack on a PSNI base in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh. A telephoned warning was given an hour beforehand, but two civilians were hurt.
23rd April 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for a pipe bomb attack on a house in Coalisland, County Tyrone. It was claimed that the RIRA accused the occupants of being involved in drug-dealing and criminality.
30th May 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for a pipe bomb attack on a house at Windmill Court, Dungannon, County Tyrone. The bomb was thrown through the kitchen window and caused considerable damage.
17th June 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for an attempted van bomb attack on a PSNI station in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone. A telephoned warning was received and the 300 lb bomb was made safe by the British Army.
18th June 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for an attempted pipe bomb attack on a PSNI station in Craigavon, County Armagh. The device was made safe by the British Army.
22nd June 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for an attempted ambush on the Keady–Castleblayney road in County Armagh. Security forces were lured into the area by a fire and a bomb warning. A bomb with a command wire was found and made safe by the British Army.
2nd July 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for a gun attack on a PSNI station in Crossmaglen, County Armagh.
10th July 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for exploding a bomb under a small stone bridge on Carrickrovaddy Road near Belleeks, County Armagh.
26th July 2010: The RIRA were blamed for a gun attack on the Players’ Lounge pub on Fairview Strand, Dublin. A lone gunman entered the pub shortly after midnight and fired shots at a doorman. The doorman and two bystanders were wounded.
8th August 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for planting a booby-trap bomb under a PSNI officer’s car in Kilkeel, County Down. It fell off the car and failed to explode.
10th August 2010: The IMC blamed the RIRA for planting a booby-trap bomb under a PSNI worker’s car in Cookstown, County Tyrone. The man worked as a civilian security guard at Cookstown PSNI base. It partially exploded but the man was unhurt.
4th October 2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for exploding a car bomb outside the Ulster Bank on Culmore Road in Derry. The bomb was more than 200 lb and exploded at 23:56, about an hour after a telephoned warning. Two PSNI officers were lightly hurt and the bank, a hotel and nearby shops were heavily damaged.
15th October 2010: In a statement to the Derry Journal, the RIRA claimed it attempted a sniper attack on a PSNI officer in Derry. It claimed that “the sniping operation was abandoned due to civilian interference”.
20th October 2010: The RIRA claimed responsibility for shooting a man in the legs in Derry. The man was a convicted sex offender.
18th January 2011: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a blast bomb attack on the offices of UK City Of Culture in Derry. The bomb caused minor damaged to the offices.
16th February 2011: The RIRA admitted responsibility for a viable pipe bomb device that was found outside a home in Magherafelt, County Londonderry.
3rd March 2011: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a police patrol in Derry. A number of shots were fired as police investigated a report of a stolen car. Although no one was injured, one shot did hit the police car.
2nd April 2011: PSNI officer Ronan Kerr was killed when a booby-trap bomb exploded under his car in Omagh, County Tyrone. A RIRA-linked group claimed responsibility.
17th May 2011: The RIRA was blamed for planting a pipe bomb on a bus in Maynooth, near Dublin, during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the Republic of Ireland.
22th May 2011: The RIRA claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a bank in Derry. No one was injured.
9th June 2011: The RIRA was blamed for shooting dead a man in Dublin who was “until recently a leading member of the Continuity IRA” and allegedly linked to drug dealing.
24th August 2011: The RIRA was blamed for a booby-trap bomb attack at a house in Navan, County Meath. The target was a man who had worked for the Garda as an informer inside the RIRA and he was wounded in the attack.
16th September 2011: The RIRA was blamed for shooting dead alleged drug gang leader Micheal “The Panda” Kelly in Clongriffin, North Dublin.
13th October 2011: The RIRA claimed responsibility for planting a small bomb outside the UK City of culture offices in Derry. It caused substantial damage to the office and surrounding buildings.
19th January 2012: Bombs exploded outside two government offices in Derry. Telephoned warnings had been sent about an hour beforehand and the areas were evacuated. The RIRA was blamed.
26th July 2012: It was announced that Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) and a number of small independent republican paramilitary groups were merging with the RIRA.
3rd September 2012: Real IRA member Alan Ryan was shot dead, allegedly by a criminal gang, in Dublin. The Derry 32CSM website released a statement saying he was a republican anti-drug activist and vowed revenge. The RIRA held a paramilitary funeral for Ryan which was attended by masked men in military uniform who fired a volley of shots over the coffin.
28th September 2012: John Wilson, from a family in which some members have been deeply involved in organised crime, was shot dead by the RIRA allegedly in retaliation for the murder of Alan Ryan.
1st November 2012: A Prison Officer was shot dead on the M1 motorway near Craigavon while driving to work. The shots were fired from another car, which drove alongside. He was the first Prison Officer to be killed since 1993. The “IRA” (which the now-defunct Real IRA is a founding faction) claimed responsibility.
4th December: The RIRA was blamed for the shooting dead of Eamon ‘The Godfather’ Kelly in North Dublin as retaliation for the murder of Alan Ryan earlier in the year.
23rd February 2013: Two alleged RIRA members in Cork were prevented from carrying out the assassination of a drug dealer after the van they were traveling in was stopped and searched by Gardaí. Gardaí discovered two loaded handguns and balaclavas.
3rd March 2013: The RIRA were blamed for an attempted mortar attack on a Derry police station. The PSNI stopped a van containing four mortars and the roof partly removed to allow the mortars to be fired. Two men were arrested at the scene, including the van driver and a motorcyclist following the van, while another man was arrested shortly after.
6th March 2013: The RIRA were blamed for shooting dead a man in Gormanston, County Meath. It was allegedly retaliation for the killing of RIRA member Alan Ryan.
8th October 2013: The RIRA shot dead a man in north Belfast, claiming he was a drug dealer. His body was found in a lake in Alexandra Park.
22nd October 2013: The RIRA claimed responsibility for throwing a pipe bomb at a PSNI vehicle in the Bogside area of Derry. The following night, another pipe bomb was thrown at a PSNI vehicle in Newtownabbey.
8th November 2013: A booby-trap bomb was found under the car of a former RUC/PSNI officer in Tullycarnet, east Belfast.
20th November 2013: The RIRA claimed responsibility for an attempted proxy bombing in Derry. A masked gunman placed a bomb on a bus, which had no passengers, and told the driver to drive to Strand Road PSNI base. However, the driver abandoned the bus and the bomb was made safe.
5th-6th December 2013: A convoy of three PSNI vehicles was hit by automatic gunfire on Crumlin Road, Belfast. The attackers had fired from a makeshift platform on Herbert Street. The following night, a PSNI landrover was hit by gunfire on Suffolk Road.
23rd December 2013: The RIRA was believed to have been responsible for firing shots at Lisnaskea PSNI base.
11th-13th February 2014: The RIRA claimed responsibility for sending letter bombs to British Army recruitment offices in south-east England. They were sent to offices in Oxford, Reading, Slough, Brighton, Aldershot, Canterbury and Chatham.
6th-7th March 2014: The RIRA claimed responsibility for sending two letter bombs to senior prison staff at Maghaberry Prison. It claimed that republican prisoners there were suffering degrading treatment. The letters were intercepted at sorting offices.
14th March 2014: A PSNI landrover was hit by a horizontal mortar on Falls Road, Belfast. The mortar launcher was attached to railings at Belfast City Cemetery and detonated by command wire. A civilian car was also hit by debris, but there were no injuries. The RIRA claimed responsibility.
29th May 2014: A large firebomb exploded in the reception of the Everglades Hotel in Derry, causing extensive damage. It had been left by a masked man who gave a forty-minute warning. The hotel had hosted a PSNI recruitment event and was due to host another.
30th July 2014: A PSNI landrover was struck by gunfire in the Bogside area of Derry.
7th October 2014: A pipe bomb was thrown at a PSNI mobile patrol on Crumlin Road, North Belfast. It failed to explode and was made safe by ATOs, who described it as highly sophisticated.
14th-23rd October 2014: There were two attempts to kill PSNI officers with booby-trap bombs; one in the Ballyarnett area of Derry and another in the Ballycolman area of Strabane.
2nd November 2014: A PSNI armoured jeep was hit by a horizontal mortar in the Creggan area of Derry. A rear door was blown off and a passing car was damaged, but there were no injuries. The RIRA said it had fired an “EFP mortar-style device triggered by a command wire”. In the security operation that followed, youths attacked the PSNI with stones and petrol bombs.
Sourced from Wikepidia