IRA "owns up to 20 pubs in the Republic"


ACCORDING to an article due to be published later this year, the IRA has acquired the services of senior professional figures, including an accountant and banker, in Dublin to oversee the acquisition and running of up to 20 public houses and the laundering of money.

The claims emerge in a study of the command and functional structure of the IRA, which is to be published in the journal Terrorism and Political Violence. The journal has studied the activities and functions of both the IRA and loyalist paramilitary organisations in the past.

The latest paper on the IRA describes the organisation as "one of the most highly organised and sophisticated terrorist, groups the world has ever seen, with the longest running paramilitary campaign".

It examines the IRA's organisational nature, from its sophisticated finance operations to the use of individuals of a particularly brutal nature" for the conduct of punishment attacks.

On finances, it observes that the IRA derives income from armed robberies in Ireland and abroad, fraud, extortion, trade in counterfeit goods and the operation of front businesses. "PIRA income is currently estimated as at least IR£10 million," it states.

Attributing information to both Garda and republican sources, the study says that money generated in the Republic, including that from robberies, "is still submitted to the finance section head in Dublin".

It quotes one source as saying that £60,000 stolen in armed robberies was surrendered to this man at the beginning of the 1994 ceasefire.

It adds: "At the time of writing, there are three individuals who oversee the procurement of illegally gained funds (we note that this excludes Sinn Fein's legal fund raising activities, not examined here) and subsequent moneylaundering procedures to which most of this money is subjected.

"Money laundering operations are co ordinated by a Dublin accountant in tandem with a man who is very experienced in banking. The accountant does not have a criminal record." This man is said to have been involved in acquiring a hotel in the Republic which was later sold.

The study refers to the "IRA's substantial portfolio investments", including "over 20 pubs in Dublin along with a fewer numbers scattered around the Republic of Ireland."

It also says the IRA controls two taxi companies in Dublin which are primarily used for moneylaundering.

Despite the large amount of money raised by the organisation, the study quotes republican sources as saying that active service unit (ASU) members who are full time activists may receive only token pay of as little as £30 a week, although all their needs are taken care of by supporters.

It quotes one source as saying that IRA "volunteers" are "looked after at Christmas time" and one senior member was reputed to have received £6,000 during the first Christmas period after the 1994 ceasefire.

The study also gives an insight into the IRA's intelligence and internal security, quoting from an internal document entitled A Reporter's Guide to Ireland, a copy of which is understood to have been seized by gardai some years ago.

This document gives details of the assessment and screening of recruits or potential recruits.

The study quotes the IRA document as saying: "A full dossier on each member, detailing his occupation, contacts in vital services both privately and government controlled and owned, should be prepared by each Command 10 (intelligence office) and should be available to the director of intelligence if so required.

"Such information is vital to the building of an efficient and comprehensive network and the maximum employment of the information potential of each and every member of every branch of the Movement."

The study observes: "Contacts in vital services go a long way in helping understand how certain logistic aspects of PIRA operations materialise with apparent ease, particularly when vehicle registration plates or travel tickets are needed in a hurry. Publicans, teachers, shopkeepers, income tax officials are just some of the kinds of occupations held by activists and command figures.

The study adds that "considerable interest has been shown since the late 1980s in Northern and Southern Command areas in having all collated information computerised . . ." It refers to the RUC's discovery of a network of IRA computer operators who were hacking into travel agency and financial company information to discover the addresses of members of the police and judiciary in Northern Ireland.

The study estimates that the IRA, while having "many thousands of supporters throughout the 32 counties" may have only "500 to 700 ASU members in the Northern Command area, which takes in Northern Ireland and the counties in the Republic touching the Border.

It offers profiles of IRA volunteers, saying there are two basic types, part time members who have jobs and who are often responsible for attacks or punishment beatings at weekend and the "24 hours a day" type who receive a weekly allowance.

It points out that there is so far "no meaningful psychological profile" of IRA volunteers. Some members interviewed for the study said they could not be involved directly in punishment beatings while others were part of units whose sole purpose was to expose and kill suspected informers. Such units are referred to by IRA members as "nutting squads", a reference to the shooting of suspected informers in the "nut", which is slang for head.

It observes: "Although some academic commentators accurately point to the absence of psychopathology in members of highly disciplined and well controlled terrorist organisations such as the PIRA, there is tentative evidence to support the notion that the PIRA does in fact make use of individuals of a particularly brutal nature for the conduct of punishment attacks and beatings in particular."