A DISSIDENT alliance between Real IRA factions in Dublin and Derry is believed to possess the greatest capacity to launch an attack on Britain. However MI5 believes that threat is still some way off and has advised the British Government to downgrade their threat level from substantial to moderate.
The news follows evidence of a major fundraising push by renegade republicans as they bid to finance a wider campaign of violence on both islands with factions stepping up their rackets in cigarette smuggling and oil laundering.
It is also believed that elements from the old Provisional IRA are returning to play prominent roles in racketeering and gardaí say it may be necessary to upgrade the strength of the gangs based on intelligence they’ve gathered since the murder of Dublin Real IRA faction leader Alan Ryan last September.
The emergence of the plot to kill a British soldier, who was spending time with his family in Limerick at Christmas, is also a cause of concern for security services in the Republic. But one senior source said the dissident factions remain disjointed and many of the southern elements are using the banner as a front for criminality.
“There are little units here and there, but they are small in number and it would appear they have failed to import any sizeable munitions from anywhere,” the senior security source told The Irish Post.
“Through decommissioning it has been established that 90 per cent of weapons and bomb making materials were handed over, that’s about as good as you are going to get because there are people who have been killed that previously stashed weapons.
“The whole structure of the old Provisional IRA is gone, the Chief of Staff — that went with giving up the arms, and the whole general grouping there. It’s well established there is no Real IRA army council.
“It’s largely fundraising gangsters in Dublin and they call themselves dissident. It’s smuggling, diesel laundering and laundering the money they achieve in this. They’ve gone away from major robberies. You don’t hear of Dublin gangsters being stopped when they come out of Belfast, the factions are answerable to no one really, they are quite splintery in structure and localised.”
Meanwhile, crime bosses who are believed to have ordered the murder of Alan Ryan are now being targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB). It is believed that CAB hope to net property worth an estimated €4million as well as collecting large scale debts.