Northern Ireland

Analysis: Dissident group Óglaigh na hÉireann’s leadership takeover could be significant

Feud fears played down

Members of ÓNH at Milltown Cemetery on Easter Sunday
Masked and armed members of Óglaigh na hÉireann

Revelations that the republican group Óglaigh na hÉireann (ÓNH) has replaced its leadership has the potential to be a significant development.

Formed from a split with the now defunct Real IRA more than a decade ago ÓNH has been on ceasefire since 2018.

The group has support in several regions across the north, including Belfast, Derry and areas around south Armagh and north Louth.

It is suggested that growing concern over funding and the direction of the movement prompted the recent takeover.

While various faction fighting and leadership heaves are nothing new in the world of republican politics, they have the potential to generate suspicion and instability – a potentially deadly mix.

While those saying they represent the organisation’s recently installed leadership have played down feud fears this comes as little comfort to some seasoned observers.

Past events show that powerplays and fall outs within republican groups often end badly.

Despite being on ceasefire since 2018 ÓNH has demonstrated a capacity to kill with ruthless efficiency.

Significantly, it is also known to have access to homemade 3D weapons.

The claims of a powershift within the group will no doubt be closely monitored by state agencies on both sides of the border, as well as other republican organisations.