Irish red tops have developed a knack for being the outlets of choice for An Garda Síochána whenever they wish to syndicate an effective press release in the nation’s so called free press.

With special relationships nurtured between themselves and strategically placed journalists, it came as no surprise that the Force used the Monday edition of the Irish Daily Star to broadcast the deployment of the Garda National Surveillance Unit (GNRU) against those deemed to be on the political ‘far right’ per the eyes of the law.

Consisting of approximately 100 largely plainclothes officers, the GNRU is charged with managing human and signals intelligence for the Gardaí in the Republic. 

A successor organisation to the infamous ‘Tango Squad’, the GNRU up until now has earnt its daily bread through combating dissident republicans and narco gangs, based out of its headquarters in the Phoenix Park and offices on Harcourt Street.

This confirmation of what was generally known, comes in the wake of engineered hysteria over alleged targeting of vaccination centres for attack as well as inordinate hit pieces on various anti-lockdown figures in the weekend papers.

Garda National Crime & Security Intelligence Service - Garda

With yet another round of lockdowns on the horizon, one suspects the state security apparatus is preparing itself for another winter of discontent.

Known for their anti-republican sympathies, the GNRU generated some embarrassment for their deployment of an undercover pregnant agent in 1998, with their targeted harassment of anti-water charges protesters drawing heavy criticism in 2014.

Paralleling the work done by the Special Detective Unit (Special Branch) and Military Intelligence (G2) the GNRU is generally regarded as the black arts department of An Garda Síochána functioning almost entirely in the shadows. 

The GNRU has gained particular notoriety for its euphemistically termed ‘ghost units’ which see them performing covert raids on the homes of suspected criminals or political dissidents.

Regulated by the Criminal Justice Surveillance Act of 2009, and soon to be put under a new state regulator, current legislation grants the GNRU wide berth when it comes to plying its trade.

A literature study of the experiences of dissident republicans the past two decades reveals the general tradecraft of the GNRU and Special Branch, from the targeting of vulnerable individuals with compromising backgrounds into becoming informants, to persistent tailing and infiltration of public demonstrations by undercovers.

A taster of the work done by GNRU is to be seen just this month in legal wrangling over human intelligence work against the Kinahan Cartel, inserting undercover operatives among the warring drug factions.

Previous to this members of the GNRU had clandestinely placed recording devices in the abduction van used in the Kevin Lunney kidnapping, with court injunctions attained to safeguard the identities of agents for potential future use.

Normally keeping silent when it comes to The Burkean’s press inquiries, the news gels with impending hate speech legislation as well as the procurement of fresh new surveillance technology Roxanne for potentially monitoring renegades.

An added variable to be considered upon yesterday’s media announcement is the role likely to be played by those on the left in assisting Gardaí in their efforts. 

As the hour draws nearer to a probable Sinn Féin-Left coalition government and the placement of various figures of the NGO complex in positions of authority consulting Gardaí, don’t underestimate the potential for partisan policing to rear its head.

The Irish state (or rather the 26 county comprador administration that claims to be the Irish state) may not have the expertise of the Brits when it comes to dampening down dissent, but is surely not to be trifled with.

Eschewing all the romance associated with intelligence work reveals the rather depraved nature of the state when it comes to political policing. The use of the GNRU against the populist right has been occurring since lockdown began and will only heighten upon the advent of a Sinn Féin led government.

On our own part this publication recommends a review of one’s own personal security, with a special focus on cyber security and avoiding individuals with suspect backgrounds, as well as the cardinal rule of avoiding criminal activities.

Abandon all illusions of how you imagine a liberal state to interact with those designated to be political threats, and instead cast your eyes to the genesis and history of the state when it comes to dealing with republicans historically and contemporaneously.

Watch your back and don’t expect the state to play fair.

Posted by Ciaran Brennan

One Comment

  1. In this context, the GNRU is reminiscent of the Cairo Gang. The similarities are obvious and both serve the Crown.

    Reply

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