We've had car bombs, hunger strikes, blast bombs, pipe bombs, petrol bombs and bomb factories all in the last few weeks. My name is Alan and I've woke up in 1981 (or so it seems). This undercurrent of violence from the 'dissidents' has been boiling over for the last few years but it seems with the age of the Internet Republican propaganda is in full swing again.
The media has done its best to keep these groups marginalised and out of the public eyes. At the time of writing a Republican prisoner is currently 40 days into hungerstrike in prison. The mainstream media are cautious not to cover this but the online community is buzzing with the news and Republican websites have called for and succeeded in getting relatively large groups out on the streets to protest. We are constantly told that these 'dissidents' are a small group but it seems no one has a clue just how small.
There has always been and always will be (it seems) a hardcore group of Republicans who want to bring Northern Ireland to its knees. Riots in Lurgan are to be expected with a mix of alcohol, spides and Republican ringleaders all involved but the worrying sign is the increase in pipe bomb attacks in recent weeks and the discovery of a bomb making factory in the Republic at the weekend.
These groups have the resources and the knowledge to launch attacks in Northern Ireland and it seems they also have significant support through propaganda websites. The small scale operations and small numbers of active members within the 'dissident' groups means that infiltration will not occur until they grow in size but then again why would they want to so? They have been successful in recent weeks and will be encouraged by the support they are receiving from Republicans. This will surely urge them on to continue attacks. The death of a hunger striker may not be national news but it will grab the attention of more moderate Republicans who will find themselves once more sympathising with the armed Republican cause. Watch out because Northern Ireland is just waiting for a catalyst to ignite further trouble.
The future is uncertain but marching season is sure to ignite old hatreds once again. Interesting times ahead...