The two main Republican terrorist groups are the Continuity IRA (CIRA) and the Real IRA (RIRA). The name Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH – ‘soldiers of Ireland’ in Irish Gaelic) is also used by Republican terrorist groups.
CIRA and RIRA were established after hardline Provisional IRA members rejected their leadership’s decision to engage with the British and Irish Governments. The two breakaway groups consider themselves to be the legitimate successors of the original Irish Republican Army. This view is rejected by mainstream Irish Republicans, who have been strongly critical of both groups.
As Jonathan Evans, the Director General of the Security Service, noted in his September 2010 speech ‘The Threat to National Security’, the separate identities of these groups are ‘based on marginal distinctions and personal rivalries’. It had been thought a few years ago that the threat from terrorism in Northern Ireland woul