IT'S WAR: The gangsters versus the dissidents
The criminal gang who challenged the Real IRA in Dublin has not gone away. The gangsters, the terrorists and the gardai all know that further bloodshed is inevitable.
A group calling itself the Criminal Action Force recently sent an emissary to eastern Europe with a shopping list for arms and explosives. The CAF is the brainchild of a veteran criminal from Ballyfermot who has been involved in smuggling for 40 years.
He and his associates have vowed to take on the dissidents and, in recent months, were responsible for gun and bomb attacks on RIRA members.
Meanwhile, the two men who ordered Ryan's murder have both left the country, though they have returned on a number of occasions in recent months. They and their pals in the CAF realise they will have no choice but to keep up their 'struggle' with the terrorists.
The current situation has a depressing sense of déjà vu about it. Republicans trying to control and prosper from organised crime is nothing new. In 1984 it almost led to another potential war between The General, Martin Cahill, and the Provos.
The IRA was demanding a cut of the action from Cahill's robbery of €1.5m worth of gold and jewels from O'Connor's factory in Dublin. The Provos, operating in the guise of the Concerned Parents Against Drugs, began targeting members of Cahill's gang who were accused of being heroin dealers.
That led to the establishment of an ad hoc group of gangsters calling themselves the Concerned Criminals Action Committee (CCAC) who threatened to take on their Republican and CPAD tormentors.
History, as we know, has a dreadful habit of repeating itself.