The Óglaigh na hÉireann Propaganda Demonstration In Derry

On the evening of Friday the 29th of July the minor Republican Resistance grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann (ÓnaÉ), staged a “show of strength” in the small Irish village of Park, County Derry. Three ÓnaE volunteers, wearing military clothing, improvised masks and gloves, posed for a photographer, one of the trio firing a volley of shots into the air from a single handgun. A quick statement threatening local drug dealers and criminals was issued before the men disappeared into the darkness. The relatively muted reaction of the press to the event highlights the unimpressive nature of the demonstration which did more to illustrate the weakness and old fashioned thinking of the would-be insurgency than its power.

As for the trio of guerrillas, the men were dressed in Flecktarn-style camouflaged field-jackets and trousers acquired from the surpluses of the Bundeswehr in Germany and sold cheap on the civilian market. The distinctive hooded parkas are popular among some of the anarchist movement in continental Europe (an ÓnaÉ representative has appeared in similar attire at a previous propaganda event). The handgun was a Smith & Wesson Model 15 or similar, a six-round revolver favoured as a reliable close-quarters weapon by the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army during the 1969-2005 conflict in the UK-administered north-east of Ireland. From the venerable appearance of the gun it was almost certainly sourced from former (P)IRA stocks, and may have spent years in a concealed underground dump or bunker.

Volunteers of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, pose for the camera in County Derry, UK Occupied North of Ireland
Volunteers of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, pose for the camera in County Derry, UK Occupied North of Ireland
A volunteer of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, poses for the camera
A volunteer of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, poses for the camera
Volunteers of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, pose for the camera
Volunteers of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, pose for the camera

As I have pointed out before, aside perhaps from the relatively uncommon ex-German Army uniforms,  the insurgency remains almost entirely reliant on the munitions and equipment formerly belonging to the Provisional movement.

Volunteers of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, in a press conference
Volunteers of the Irish insurgent grouping, Óglaigh na hÉireann or ÓnaÉ, in a press conference. Note the mix of German and British military camouflage jackets.
A hipster urban guerrilla!

 

 

 

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10 comments

  1. I must admit, when I saw the original article, my first reaction was…how old is that feckin’ gun?

    1. ÓnaÉ is a small, tightly knit mid- and west-Ulster grouping of former (P)IRA volunteers, all known to each other, with a number of newer recent recruits. It has expanded out of its rural heartland but is still very restricted by size and resources (or by preference). There has been some cooperation with the “New” IRA via personal contacts, ex-volunteers and family members, friends, but nothing formal. Its military or political aspirations/intent are open to question.

  2. Is this news, and if so why? OK there are people who like to dress up and think it´s somehow clever to shoot a rusty old pistol into the air. Given the history of NI that´s not really surprising is it? In other times and places such folk would perhaps find other ways to show off. Clearly they still think being an IRA man is ´cool´. I should imagine everyone else just yawns. Wouldn´t that be the best reaction?

    1. I don’t know. Some are poseurs. Some are real thing. I usually take an agnostic position in these circumstances. Really,who knows?

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