Irish police uncover Real IRA surveillance ring
September 28, 2012 4 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Police in the Republic of Ireland have arrested two men suspected of spying on the operational headquarters of the Garda Siochana (Irish Police) in Dublin. The two men, aged 41 and 32, who have not been named, were arrested after one of them was recognized by police officers as a known member of the Real Irish Republic Army. The Real IRA, or RIRA, is an Irish republican paramilitary organization formed in 1997, following a split in the Provisional IRA — the armed wing of Sin Fein. It seeks to bring about a united Ireland, but is considered a terrorist group by the United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries. Gardai officers discovered that the Real IRA suspect had used a false name to book a room in a hotel directly overlooking the regional headquarters of the Gardai on Harcourt Street. The building houses, among other police units, the Gardai’s Special Branch and the Criminal Assets Bureau, both of which are used to investigate paramilitary activity in the Republic. Upon searching the room, Gardai officers reportedly found “hi-tech surveillance equipment”, including parabolic microphones and digital cameras. Anonymous Gardai sources claim the equipment was used to eavesdrop on conversations held inside the Gardai building across the street, and to record the license tags of private vehicles belonging to Gardai personnel. Several cameras contained stills and videos of Gardai officers walking in and out of the station. Reports in the Irish media claim that the mission of the RIRA surveillance team was to identify Gardai personnel involved in operations against dissident paramilitary groups. The two men were initially charged with “membership of an unlawful organization” and “providing assistance to an unlawful organization”. But some of the latest reports claim that the younger man allegedly involved in the surveillance operation was released without charge last night. Meanwhile Gardai officers are continuing a detailed forensic examination of the hotel room and say they will release further information on the case soon. It is worth noting that, two years ago, MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, discovered several surveillance cameras placed on trees around its compound in Holywood, County Down, inside a British Army installation named Palace Barracks. That incident took place in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, but which is known for significant RIRA activity.