Ninth person charged in Northern Ireland amid New IRA crackdown

Terrorism charges brought after 10 people are arrested under Operation Arbacia

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray during a press conference at Knock Street in Belfast in relation to Operation Arbacia on Monday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray during a press conference at Knock Street in Belfast in relation to Operation Arbacia on Monday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

 

A ninth person has been charged with terrorism offences in Northern Ireland as part of a police crackdown on the dissident republican group the New IRA.

Eight people had already appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court following 10 arrests as part of a crackdown under Operation Arbacia.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Barbara Gray described the operation as “significant and carefully planned”.

“Last week the Police Service of Northern Ireland arrested 10 people, eight men and two women, under the terrorism Act as part of a significant and carefully planned operation called Arbacia,” she said.

“This is an ongoing and co-ordinated investigation into activities of the New IRA and involves partners such as MI5, An Garda Síochána, Police Scotland and the Metropolitan Police Service.

“Eight people have been charged with a total of 34 terrorist offences. All have been remanded in custody.

“I can now confirm a ninth person has been charged with four terrorist offences. Overall, these offences include directing terrorism, preparatory acts of terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation, conspiracy . . . [to] possess explosives with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to possess ammunition with intent to endanger life. These offences speak for themselves,” she added.

Lyra McKee

The New IRA is believed to be responsible for the shooting death of journalist Lyra McKee while she observed a riot in Derry in April 2019.

It is currently believed to be the largest of the dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland, and has been blamed for a number of attacks on police, including a bomb attack in Wattle Bridge, Co Fermanagh, in August 2019, as well as five letter bombs found at locations across Britain and the Republic in March 2019.

Ms Gray described Operation Arbacia as a “longer term” inquiry into “every aspect of the activities of the New IRA in its entirety”.

“Keeping the public safe is at the heart of this operation,” she said.

“We have seen the New IRA does not care who it hurts or what it destroys. They do not care about the communities they come from, they care for no one. They are reckless, they are manipulative and they exploit.

“It is really disappointing that decades on from the Good Friday [Belfast] Agreement there are still groups who are using and hiding bombs and bullets in residential areas and putting their own agendas above the rights of the community who want to live and thrive in peace.” – PA