Óglaigh na hÉireann (Real IRA splinter group)
|Óglaigh na hÉireann|
|Dates of operation||2009 – present (There are also estimates that the group could have been created as early as 2005 or 2006)|
|Active region(s)||Northern Ireland|
Óglaigh na hÉireann (often abbreviated as ONH) is the title taken by a small dissident Irish republican paramilitary group that has taken part as a belligerent in the armed conflict in Northern Ireland. It is unclear when it was actually formed. Some estimates claim it was formed in 2005 or 2006 shortly after the Provisional IRA's decision to decommission its arsenal of weaponry, by disillusioned hardline elements within the Provisional IRA. There's also a estimates the organisation was actually formed in 2009 as a splinter group of the largest dissident republican group the Real IRA (now called 'The IRA' after it merged with a number of groups in 2012). It is unknown whether Óglaigh na hÉireann has worked with other groups such as 'The IRA' or the Continuity IRA.
In December 2010, the group's strength was estimated to be about 50 members and it is recruiting and training in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The group has carried out high-profile attacks on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the British Army in Northern Ireland.
It is widely unknown what weaponry Óglaigh na hÉireann has access to. However most of its attacks are down to Improvised Explosive Devices rather than conventional military weapons. These include coffee jar bombs, car bombs, pipe bombs, improvised mortars, under car booby traps and other booby traps. These are weapons that have been used in attacks they have claimed. Very recently it is widely believed Óglaigh na hÉireann is attempting to use mobile phone technology to trigger bombs and other home-made weapons. In August 2013 the group was blamed for planting a Katyusha Style Rocket in an undergrowth next to a field near Cullyhanna in South Armagh. The weapon was to be triggered using a mobile phone. This technology has never been used before in the hands of Irish Republican paramilitary groups and was widely used by the Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah and is still used by Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas along with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It is not known how Óglaigh na hÉireann managed to obtain the knowledge to build such weapons.
Other attacks Óglaigh na hÉireann has carried out have used military conventional weapons such as grenades, assault rifles and pistols. In 2010 a man on a bicycle threw a 'Russian Type' hand grenade at PSNI officers attending a call to a bookies. The officers were injured and the grenade caused slight damage to a curb. In 2013 in West Belfast gun men opened fire on PSNI officers who has just left their vehicles to attend a call out in West Belfast. The officers dived for cover before returning to their vehicles and leaving the area. The PSNI did not return for a number of hours.
- 1 September: Óglaigh na hÉireann was believed to have been behind the planting of a 600 lb roadside bomb close to the border near Forkill, County Armagh. It was likely meant to blow up a PSNI patrol. However, it was abandoned by those who planted it, and defused by the British Army.
- 16 October: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for detonating a booby-trap bomb under a PSNI officer's car in Kingsdale Park, east Belfast. The bomb exploded as the officer's girlfriend was driving the car, although she suffered minor wounds. The bomb was planted under the passenger side, as the woman usually drove her partner to work.
- 21 November: Óglaigh na hÉireann was blamed for a failed car bomb attack on the Northern Ireland Policing Board headquarters in Belfast. A 400 lb car bomb was driven through a security barrier by two men, who then fled. The bomb partially exploded.
- 8 January: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for an under-car booby-trap bomb attack on a PSNI officer in Randalstown, County Antrim. The bomb exploded shortly after the officer left his home. He was badly hurt in the attack and had to have one of his legs amputated.
- 12 April: Óglaigh na hÉireann was blamed for a car bomb attack on Palace Barracks in Holywood, County Down. The British Army base houses MI5's Northern Ireland headquarters. A taxi driver had been forced to drive the 120 lb bomb to the base. He abandoned the car shortly before midnight, prompting the PSNI to clear the area. The bomb exploded twenty minutes later, lightly wounding an elderly man. This attack was initially blamed on the Real IRA.
- 6 May: Óglaigh na hÉireann's Derry Brigade claimed responsibility for disrupting an election count (for the 2010 Westminster election) at Templemore Sports Complex in Derry. The group had hidden a hoax device in the building before the count began. As the count was underway, Óglaigh na hÉireann members forced a taxi driver to drive a pipe bomb to the building. A warning was issued, and the building was evacuated shortly before midnight. The British Army carried out a controlled explosion on the pipe bomb, but the other device was not found for a further four days.
- 12 July: Óglaigh na hÉireann's Derry Brigade claimed responsibility for a gun attack on a burning PSNI vehicle during a riot. Five shots were fired at the vehicle after it had been hit with petrol bombs in the Bogside area of Derry after several hours of rioting (as a result of The Twelfth parades).
- 3 August: Óglaigh na hÉireann's Derry Brigade claimed responsibility for detonating a 200 lb car bomb outside Strand Road PSNI base in Derry. Like the attack on 12 April, a taxi driver was forced to drive the bomb to the base. The bomb exploded at 0320, 22 minutes earlier than the warning had said, but there were no casualties.
- 21 September: Óglaigh na hÉireann's Derry Brigade claimed responsibility for a gun attack in Derry. The group said that its members had gone to a house to order the occupant, Sean Healy, to leave the country. When the gunmen found that he was not at home, they fired shots through the windows of his car.
- 5 November: Óglaigh na hÉireann's Belfast Brigade claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on three PSNI officers in Belfast. The officers were investigating a robbery on Shaws Road when a man on a bike threw the grenade. All three were injured and one suffered severe arm wounds.
- 7 February: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a taxi depot on Oldpark Road, Belfast. It claimed that the owners were using the depot as a cover for drug dealing.
- 27 March: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for planting a car bomb in Derry. The 110 pounds (50 kg) bomb was left in a car-park on Bishop Street, beside the court-house. The group issued a telephoned warning and the bomb was made safe by the security forces.
- 28 March: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for throwing a "coffee-jar bomb" at the PSNI on Grosvenor Road, Belfast. The device deflected into waste ground. The group then issued a telephoned warning and it was made safe by the security forces.
- 5 January: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for planting a booby-trap bomb in a soldier's car at Blackdam Court, Belfast. It said that the device was hidden under the driver's seat and was connected to the seat buckle. However, the device was spotted and later made safe by the security forces.
- 28 April: Óglaigh na hÉireann were blamed for planting a bomb underneath a car in a loyalist area of Belfast. The PSNI said the car had belonged to an officer but had recently changed hands.
- 6 June: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on a PSNI vehicle at Whin Park, Belfast. A number of vehicles were damaged but nobody was injured.
- 11 June: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for a grenade attack on the PSNI at Barnfield Road, Dunmurry. Local residents reported hearing a loud bang in the area and the police issued an appeal for information. Nobody was injured.
- 13 July: A gunman opened fire on the PSNI during a riot in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast. The attack was captured on video. A total of 17 shots were fired from an automatic rifle. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
- 27 July: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for attacking a PSNI landrover on Glen Road, Belfast. A single shot was fired at the landrover and the group claimed it had fired a horizontal mortar, triggered by a mobile phone. However, the PSNI denied that a mortar had been fired.
- 25 October: A pipe bomb was thrown at PSNI officers responding to a call in Poleglass, west Belfast. However, it failed to detonate. Óglaigh na hÉireann was blamed.
- 30 December: Óglaigh na hÉireann was believed to be behind an attempted under car booby trap attack in East Belfast. The PSNI officer was preparing to go out for his Sunday lunch with his family when he checked under his car and discovered the device. The discovered prompted a security alert and the area was cordoned off for a number of hours.
- 29 January: Óglaigh na hÉireann issued a bomb warning to a North Belfast community centre, forcing it to be evacuated. A pipe bomb was found in the building's back yard and taken away by the British Army.
- 30 January: Óglaigh na hÉireann was believed to be behind a failed pipe bomb attack on a PSNI landrover in the Oldpark area of North Belfast. A number of homes were evaluated in the security alert that followed.
- 9 March: A bomb exploded near PSNI officers on the Duncrue towpath in north Belfast. There were no injuries. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
- 15 March: A mortar attack on New Barnsley PSNI base in Belfast was foiled after a PSNI officer spotted the launcher. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
- 23 March: The British Army defused a car bomb abandoned on the Derrylin Road near Enniskillen. Óglaigh na hÉireann said it had planned to detonate it at the Lough Erne Resort—the hotel hosting the 39th G8 summit—but had to abort the attack.
- 1 April: A member of Óglaigh na hÉireann fired a volley of shots into the air at a republican commemoration in Ardoyne, north Belfast.
- 15 May: A Belfast man claimed that Óglaigh na hÉireann had ordered him to smuggle a bomb into Stormont. He believed he was targeted because of his role with support group 'Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse', which holds meetings in the building.
- 16 May: Shots were fired and a bomb thrown at PSNI officers as they got out of their vehicle in Foxes Glen, Belfast. The three officers dived for cover and drove away at speed. Police did not return to the scene for a number of hours. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
- 28 May: Two pipe bombs were thrown at PSNI officers as they got out of their armoured vehicle on Crumlin Road, north Belfast. The bombs exploded but caused no injuries. The attack happened in the loyalist Ballysillan area. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
- 11 July: Óglaigh na hÉireann was blamed for an attempted bomb attack on PSNI officers in north Belfast. Officers responded to a call that shots had been fired at an abandoned house in Ardoyne. A booby-trap bomb was found behind the front door, having failed to detonate.
- 5 August: Óglaigh na hÉireann was believed to be behind a gun attack on PSNI officers who were policing a loyalist protest at the junction of Crumin Road and Twaddell Aveune, north Belfast. There were no injuries.
- 12 August: Two pipe bombs were thrown at Woodbourne PSNI base in west Belfast. One exploded, but there were no injuries. Óglaigh na hÉireann was blamed.
- 27 August: There was an attempt to shoot down a PSNI helicopter with a rocket near Cullyhanna, County Armagh. A bomb warning was sent by telephone to lure the PSNI into the area. The weapon was to be triggered by mobile phone, but the attack was abandoned when the PSNI failed to respond to the telephone call. The device was found in undergrowth two weeks later and made safe.
- 30 October: Óglaigh na hÉireann was believed to be behind a pipe bomb attack on the Whitewell Road in North Belfast. It was believed the device was thrown at a Police landrover as it was travelling on the Whitewell road, but remained undiscovered for a number of days.
- 16 November: Óglaigh na hÉireann were believed to have been behind a pipe bomb attack on a PSNI Landrover in Strabane, County Tyrone. The attack took place in the Ballycolman area.
- 25 November: A car bomb partially exploded on Victoria Street in Belfast, near Victoria Square Shopping Centre and a PSNI station. A man was forced to drive the 132 pounds (60 kg) bomb to the spot and then raised the alarm. There were no injuries and only the car was damaged. It was the first such attack in Belfast city centre for many years. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.
- 5–6 December: 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.
- 13 December: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast. A small bomb exploded in a holdall outside St Anne's Square, which houses a number of upmarket restaurants. A telephoned warning had been sent 45 minutes beforehand and there were no injuries.
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- Timeline of Continuity Irish Republican Army actions
- Chronology of Provisional Irish Republican Army actions
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