Annual turnover: $ 50 million
Main funding sources: smuggling and illegal trade, aid and donations
Region: Northern Ireland, Ireland, United Kingdom
Purpose: Release of Northern Ireland and the creation of a united Irish state, which includes Northern Ireland and Ireland
Real IRA is a radical faction of the IRA (Irish Republican Army), established by activists who oppose the peace agreement signed in April 1998. This faction is considered to be the strongest resistance organization operating against the British, and it is defined as a terrorist organization by the EU and the USA.
The Real IRA sees itself as a follower of the mythological IRA, and aims to part from the United Kingdom and establish a united Irish state, which also includes the northern region of the island.
The group acts mainly against the British army and the Northern Irish police, and is responsible for several deadly terrorist attacks. The car bomb explosion in Omagh in August 1998, which killed 29 people and wounded 220, was the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the conflict. The murder of two British soldiers in March 2009, the first to be killed in Ireland since the peace agreement, was also the work of this group. Real IRA was responsible for a number of attacks in central London, such as an RPG rocket assault on the central headquarters of MI6 (British intelligence organization) and the car bomb explosion in front of the headquarters of the BBC.
The Irish terrorist group is based in Dublin, overseeing a global network of smuggling and illegal trade in various goods – from electronics and oil barrels to cigarettes and cattle. A few years ago an Irish-American businessman was arrested for smuggling 350 thousand cartons of cigarettes from Panama to Ireland, worth 3.6 million pounds. This arrest revealed the main arteries of the organization’s funding, which generates about $10 million annually.
Another very important capital source of the organization, according to a US State Department global terrorism report, is the Irish-American population, numbering about 35 million people (seven times the population of Ireland itself). The group raises money from supporters among Irish-American activists, who oppose the peace agreement. Some of them, according to the report, are not satisfied with the financial support and work for the purchase of illegal weapons and smuggle it to the group members. Other income is derived from fraud and money laundering and bank robberies.