SIX years ago a group of disaffected members of Sinn Fein came together and formed a new socialist-republican campaign group, known as eirigi.
They immediately became heavily involved in street protests over a series of issues, ranging from the outcry over the behaviour of the banks to education and the environment.
Their stance quickly attracted more supporters from within the more established republican groups and this led to tensions between eirigi and Sinn Fein. Garda Special Branch detectives closely monitored the group's development but at the time insisted they were satisfied that it did not have a military wing.
Now, however, they are having second thoughts as a result of the arrest of a number of eirigi sympathisers by the Emergency Response Unit, who intercepted an armed gang as they were about to rob a gun shop near Tullamore, Co Offaly, on Tuesday night.
Anti-terrorist officers say they are very concerned that another military outfit may be emerging and describe the scenario as sinister. But as a result of their ongoing monitoring of the group, they have already collected a lot of information about the organisation's members and their connections.
If it is true that an 'active service unit' was being formed by Eirigi sympathisers, Tuesday night's arrests will hopefully put it out of existence.