By Rebecca Black, PA
Two men are to appear in court in Belfast to face terrorism charges in connection with the dissident group the New IRA.
A 62-year-old man and a 51-year-old man have both been charged with belonging or professing to belonging to a proscribed organisation, directing a terrorist organisation and preparation of terrorist acts.
Mark McEwan, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable crime department, said the charges came following the arrest of four men on Wednesday as part of Operation Arbacia.
The other two men, aged 30 and 27, were released on report to the Public Prosecution Service.
— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) August 25, 2022
Arbacia is an ongoing long-term investigation to look at every aspect of the activities of the New IRA, with help by MI5.
Mr McEwan described the arrests and examination of a public area in west Belfast as a “significant development”.
“Despite significant progress against the New IRA, we cannot be complacent in any way about investigating their activities. Those investigations are most effective when police and communities work together,” he said.
“We have witnessed, on numerous occasions, that they are willing to put the lives of local people at risk in their reckless haste to carry out bombings and shootings.
“Most starkly, they have a chilling indifference to hiding lethally dangerous weapons and bombs in places where local people can easily stumble across them, unaware of the potential horrific consequences of touching them.
“We have seen time and time again that the New IRA does not care who they hurt or what they destroy.
“They do not care about the communities they come from – they care for no-one. They are reckless, manipulative and they exploit.
“We have seen how they send young people onto the streets, how they don’t care if children are likely to find guns and explosives where they play.
“Our focus is on keeping the community safe and protecting them from the threat of these violent groups, but we need the help of the public.
“Our chances of success are vastly improved by support and information from the community in relation to their activities.
“Policing with the community is at the heart of what we do, we are committed to working with communities, towards meaningful change.”