There was one jihadi arrest in Ireland in 2016 and another individual was detained for Islamic State activity and travel issues in 2015, research shows.
A new study found there is little to no overlap between people arrested for jihadi terrorism and republican terrorism, with the former sole actors or operating in dyads (pairs) and the latter part of a larger, more organised group.
The report said anecdotal information suggests a wide divergence in the type of crime both groups commit, with Troubles-related individuals engaged in fuel smuggling, drug dealing, and transnational smuggling; and the jihadi individuals engaged in more petty crimes such as social welfare fraud and illegal alcohol distilling.
From Criminals To Terrorists and Back — a quarterly report 2018 Great Britain and Ireland was carried out by Orla Lynch, head of criminology at University College Cork, and John Morrison, director of the terrorism and extremism research centre at the University of East London.
The research, conducted in 11 EU countries, is funded by Philip Morris and is being implemented by GLOBSEC, which describes itself as an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organisation on foreign and security policy.
The research in Ireland said that, based on the profiles examined, there was evidence of the individuals being involved in both terrorism and (non-political) crime.
It said petty crime also featured. In two cases, the offences did not lead to convictions and that evidence of such occurrences was gleaned from official (but unverified) sources. In both instances, social welfare fraud was involved.
The study found that all of the individuals studied have a record of criminal offending — but how that relates to their later extremist activities is “difficult to gauge”.
The research said media reports showed that two named individuals were arrested and charged with terrorist financing (funding Islamic terrorism) in 2015. It further said that Garda source information shows that a male was detained by detectives here related to “ISIS activity and travel issues” in 2015.
Garda figures show there were 30 arrests under the Offences Against the State Act and 20 people charged before the non-jury Special Criminal Court in 2015.
Of these, 16 were for IRA membership; four for firearms offences; three for explosive offences; two for assisting an unlawful organisation; and one for directing an unlawful organisation.
Of profiles examined in the research, authors said:“Jihadi arrestees appear to be sole actors or appearing in dyads while Troubles-related arrestees are part of a larger, more organised group.
“Anecdotally, the type of crime committed by jihadi and Troubles-related individuals vary widely (the former, social welfare fraud, illegal alcohol distillation, and the latter, fuel smuggling, drug dealing, transnational smuggling, etc).”
The report said there was one instance of conversion recorded, which took place in prisons (does not detail if republican or jihadi) and that there was no evidence of foreign-fighter experience among those arrested for terrorism in 2015.
It said that individuals that could be classed as lone wolves (individuals or dyads) were operating “in a support role and did not engage in violence”.
The report said one individual was killed in theatre, another was convicted in providing funding for Islamic State.
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