World View: England Threatened with IRA Terrorists from Northern Ireland

A British soldier patrols October 24, 2001 in the village of Crossmaglen, Northern Ireland. Four British Army security installations are to be dismantled in the wake of disarmament by the Irish Republican Army.
Cathal McNaughton/Getty Images

This morning’s key headlines from

  • England threatened with IRA terrorists from Northern Ireland
  • The ‘New IRA’ recalls the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule

England threatened with IRA terrorists from Northern Ireland

A New IRA parade commemorating the Easter Rising of 1916 (Barcroft)
A New IRA parade commemorating the Easter Rising of 1916 (Barcroft)

England, Scotland and Wales were put on high alert on Wednesday by possibly imminent threats from the “New IRA” (Irish Republican Army). According to Home Secretary Theresa May:

The Security Service, MI5, has increased the threat level to Great Britain from Northern Ireland-related terrorism from moderate to substantial.

This means that a terrorist attack is a strong possibility and reflects the continuing threat from dissident republican activity.

As a result of this change, we are working closely with the police and other relevant authorities to ensure appropriate security measures are in place.

The increase in the perceived risk to Great Britain from Northern Irish terrorism from “moderate” to “substantial” was caused by a fresh assessment leading to concerns about the increasing capabilities of the dissident groups and their growing desire to attack the mainland. With this rating, a terror attack is considered “a strong possibility,” which is not at the level of “highly likely” if the threat level had been raised all the way up to “severe.” BBC and Belfast Telegraph (30-Apr) and Daily Mail (London)

The ‘New IRA’ recalls the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule

On Easter Sunday, March 27 of this year, thousands of soldiers marched through Dublin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, which was an Irish insurgency against the government of the United Kingdom. That was just one of the many clashes between the Irish and the English over the centuries.

Northern Ireland terrorism has been out of the news lately, because of concerns over jihadist terrorism. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, all religious and ethnic groups have the potential for terrorism at different times. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is little significant difference between terrorism by Catholic drug cartels in Mexico, ethnic terrorism by Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, and Islamist terrorism, with the similarities more significant than the differences. However, at this point in time, terrorism related to Syria is considered to be the greatest terror threat.

Violent paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland has resulted in 1,100 bombings and shootings over the past 10 years, along with almost 800 so-called punishment attacks and 4,000 cases of people being forced out of their homes. There are still thousands of people associated with paramilitary groups responsible for acts of violence and intimidation. Last week, police arrested 14 people in Northern Ireland after the funeral of of Michael ‘Mickey’ Barr, a “New IRA” member who was gunned down for being a dissident republican.

The violence in Northern Ireland is usually portrayed as religious in nature, where Catholics fight against Protestants.

But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it can be called an ethnic conflict between indigenous Gaelic Irish people (usually Catholic, republican, nationalist) versus descendants of invading English and Scottish people (usually Protestant, loyalist, unionist). As is often the case, religion is not the “cause” of this conflict, but is a tool used by the factions to rally supporters.

Generally speaking, the objective of the republicans is to unify the Republic of Ireland (southern Ireland) with Northern Ireland into a single republic, while the unionists (loyalists) want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom.

As I described in detail in “23-Jun-2011 News — Sectarian violence in Northern Ireland grows again”, the English and the Gaelics have been fighting generational crisis wars regularly since the 1400s. The most important was the Nine Years War (1594-1603), where the Irish Gaelics attempted to overthrow English rule. The result was the Plantation of Ulster, which Gaelics today refer to as “ethnic cleansing,” because the British drove the Gaelics from their land, took it over as landlords, and used the Gaelics as servants.

Those feelings are as strong as ever today among the many of the Irish republicans. That’s why, on Easter of this year, the “New IRA” warned:

The volunteer soldiers of the IRA are ready and determined to take the war to the age old enemy of our nation.

AP and Telegraph (London) and Guardian (London, 29-Mar)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, New IRA, Irish Republican Army, MI5, Theresa May, Easter Rising, Catholics, Protestants, Nine Years War, Ulster Plantation
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