Óglaigh na hÉireann (Real IRA splinter group)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Óglaigh na hÉireann.
Óglaigh na hÉireann
ˈoːɡɫ̪iː n̪ˠə ˈheːɾʲən̪ˠ
Participant in the Dissident Irish Republican campaign
Active 2009 - present
Ideology Irish republicanism
Leaders Army Council
Area of operations Northern Ireland (mainly)
Republic of Ireland
Strength ~50 members
Originated as Real Irish Republican Army
Opponents British Army
Police Service of Northern Ireland

Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH; [ˈoːɡɫ̪iː n̪ˠə ˈheːɾʲən̪ˠ]) 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. The organisation started carrying out attacks around 2009 and was formed after a split within the Real IRA. [1]

In December 2010, the group's strength was estimated to be about 50 members and it is recruiting and training in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.[2] The group has carried out high-profile attacks on the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the British Army in Northern Ireland. The organisation seems to be mainly based in the Belfast area, however there are elements within the Derry, Strabane and South Armagh/North Louth areas. [3] However, with the growth of the larger Real IRA or New IRA after it merged in July 2012 with other groups, the organisation's activity has steadily declined. Splits and an intelligence campaign waged against it by the PSNI and MI5 have caused the organisation to lose many members according to media reports. [4] The organisation is repeatedly said to be aligned with the Republican Network for Unity a Republican Socialist group, however RNU has denied this. [5]

It is claimed the organisation came into existence after a split between the older leadership of the Real IRA and the new leadership, with the older leadership claiming those that "took over" the Real IRA were "more interested in criminality as a opposed to fighting the crown forces". These tensions were evident as far back as late 2003 when Real IRA members in Portlaoise Prison called on the leadership to stand down and call off its campaign. However these calls fell of deaf ears and a dispute started with most Real IRA prisoners at the time siding with the older leadership who founded the organisation.[6]


It is not well known what weaponry Óglaigh na hÉireann has access to. Most of its attacks use improvised explosive devices rather than more conventional military weapons. These include coffee jar bombs, car bombs, pipe bombs, improvised mortar, under car booby traps and other booby traps. These are weapons that have been used in attacks they have claimed. In August 2013 the group was blamed for planting a Katyusha-style rocket in undergrowth next to a field near Cullyhanna in South Armagh. The weapon was to be triggered using a mobile phone.[7]

Other attacks Óglaigh na hÉireann has carried out have used conventional weapons such as grenades, assault rifles and pistols. In 2010 a man on a bicycle threw a "Russian type" hand grenade at Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers attending a call to a bookie's. The officers were injured and the grenade caused slight damage to a kerb.



  • 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.[8][9]
  • 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 alone, and she suffered minor wounds. The bomb was planted under the passenger side, as the woman usually drove her partner to work.[10][11]
  • 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.[12][13]


  • 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.[14][15]
  • 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.[16][17][18]
  • 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.[19][20]
  • 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).[21]
  • 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.[22][23]
  • 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 he was not at home, they fired shots through the windows of his car.[24]
  • 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.[25]


  • 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.[26]
  • 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.[27]
  • 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.[27]


  • 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]
  • 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.[29]
  • 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.[30]
  • 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.[31]
  • 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.[32] Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.[33]
  • 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.[34][33] However, the PSNI denied that a mortar had been fired.[35]
  • 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.[36]
  • 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.[37]


  • 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.[38]
  • 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.[39]
  • 9 March: A bomb exploded near PSNI officers on the Duncrue towpath in north Belfast. There were no injuries.[40] Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.[41]
  • 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.[42]
  • 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.[42]
  • 1 April: A member of Óglaigh na hÉireann fired a volley of shots into the air at a republican commemoration in Ardoyne, north Belfast.[43]
  • 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 a support group, Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse, which holds meetings in the building.[44]
  • 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.[45][46]
  • 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.[47]
  • 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.[48]
  • 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.[49][50]
  • 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.[51] It was the first such attack in Belfast city centre for many years. Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility.[52]
  • 13 December: Óglaigh na hÉireann claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast.[53] 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.[54]


  • 27 February: Óglaigh na hÉireann was blamed for a booby trap bomb attack on Frank McCabe Jr, the son of well known South Armagh Republican Frank McCabe who was maimed after he removed a poster on a pole near Cullyhanna. The poster was believed to be intended for another well known Republican. Unionist politicians expressed concern about rising tensions within Republicanism in the area. [55]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Timeline of dissident republican activity". BBC News. 25 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Oglaigh na hEireann is now the main threat". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Brady, Tom. "Oglaigh na hEireann is now the main threat". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  4. ^ Breen, Suzanne (2011-02-15). "Dissident denies stealing inmates’ Christmas cash". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  5. ^ Rowan, Brian (2011-02-19). "Dissidents deny issuing death threat to Belfast republican". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 
  6. ^ Black Operations: The Secret War Against the Real IRA
  7. ^ Belfast Daily. "DISSIDENT MORTAR BID TO DOWN PSNI COPTER". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "'Splinter group' behind road bomb". BBC News. 9 September 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Calls for extra resources after 60 dissident bomb attacks in 18 months". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Woman injured in car bomb attack". BBC News. 16 October 2009. 
  11. ^ "Bomb allegedly was the work of dissidents". Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "400lb bomb left at Policing Board". BBC News. 22 November 2009. 
  13. ^ McDonald, Henry (17 January 2010). "Northern Ireland dissidents use remote control bomb in attack on PSNI officer". The Guardian (London, UK). 
  14. ^ "Car bomb officer Peadar Heffron's leg amputated". BBC News. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Police widow Kate Carroll in tears after GAA symbol row hits fundraiser". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "Real IRA admits NI MI5 base bomb". BBC News. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  17. ^ Batty, David (23 April 2010). "Car bomb blast outside police station on Irish border". The Guardian (London, UK). Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  18. ^ McDonald, Henry (13 April 2010). "Northern Ireland village sealed off in bomb alert". The Guardian (London, UK). 
  19. ^ "Pipe bomb left at counting centre". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Alert device 'left five days ago'". BBC News. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "Óglaigh na h-Éireann claim bomb attack". Derry Journal. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  22. ^ "200lb of explosives in Derry car bomb". BBC News. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  23. ^ "Group claims Strand Road bomb attack". BBC News. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  24. ^ "Óglaigh na h'Éireann claim gun attack". Derry Journal. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  25. ^ "UTV News - Device 'could have killed'". U.tv. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  26. ^ "ONH claim arson attack on depot", North Belfast News, 21 February 2011.
  27. ^ a b "Dissidents behind city bombs", UTV News, 29 March 2011.
  28. ^ "Dissident bomb in soldier's car - UTV Live News". U.tv. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  29. ^ McDonald, Henry (28 April 2012). "Republican dissidents blamed for planting bombs in Northern Ireland". The Guardian (London, UK). 
  30. ^ "Dissident group claims PSNI bomb attack", UTV News, 7 June 2012.
  31. ^ "'Loud bang' was grenade attack on PSNI - UTV Live News". U.tv. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  32. ^ "Ardoyne Republican Gunman Fire On PSNI". YouTube. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  33. ^ a b "ONH claims rocket attack", Irish Republican News, 3 August 2012; retrieved 5 August 2012.
  34. ^ "Police shots 'dissident murder bid'". UTV News. 31 July 2012.
  35. ^ "Nothing found after mortar search". u.tv. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "ONH blamed for pipe bomb". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  37. ^ "Booby Trap Bomb Found Under PSNI officer's Car In East Belfast (30 December 2012)". YouTube. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  38. ^ "Dissident republicans blamed over north Belfast pipe bomb". BBC News. 30 January 2013. 
  39. ^ "Pipe bomb thrown at police in Belfast 'reckless bid to kill'". BBC News. 31 January 2013. 
  40. ^ North Belfast bomb blast 'was attempted murder', bbc.co.uk, 11 March 2013.
  41. ^ Oglaigh na hEireann escalate campaign, Republican News, 15 March 2013.
  42. ^ a b "Terror group claims car bomb was meant for Northern Ireland G8 summit", The Guardian, 25 March 2013; retrieved 25 March 2013.
  43. ^ "Óglaigh na hÉireann Volley Of Shots - 2013". YouTube. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  44. ^ "Man 'recruited' to bomb Stormont". u.tv. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  45. ^ "'Bomb' found at police murder bid scene", UTV News, 17 May 2013; retrieved 15 June 2013.
  46. ^ ‘ÓNH’ force PSNI retreat from Twinbrook. An analysis on recent armed actions!. Republican Network for Unity. 18 May 2013; retrieved 15 June 2013.
  47. ^ Belfast Daily. "REVEALED: ARDOYNE BOOBY TRAP BOMB PLOT TO KILL TWO PSNI OFFICERS - Belfast Daily". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  48. ^ Belfast Daily. "BREAKING NEWS…’BLAST BOMBS’ ATTACK ON PSNI STATION". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  49. ^ "Abandoned bombs represent 'unfinished business' – ONH claim responsibility". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  50. ^ "Óglaigh na hÉireann Aborted Mortar Plot To Shoot Down PSNI Chopper In South Armagh (27/8/13)". YouTube. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  51. ^ "60kg car bomb partially explodes in Belfast city centre". BBC News, 25 November 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  52. ^ "Oglaigh na hEireann claims bomb responsibility", The Irish News, 29 November 2013; retrieved 14 December 2013.
  53. ^ "Belfast bomb 'despicable' say Robinson and McGuinness", BBC News, 14 December 2013; retrieved 14 December 2013.
  54. ^ "Police hunt man after explosion", Belfast Telegraph, 14 December 2013; retrieved 14 December 2013.
  55. ^ "Crossmaglen: Man is injured in South Armagh explosion - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 

External links[edit]