THE video of a dissident republican gunman firing shots in Ardoyne during a band parade was a bid to raise money from Irish-American supporters.
Security chiefs believe Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) is attempting to raise further funds to carry on its terror campaign ahead of this summer’s G8 summit of world leaders in Co Fermanagh.
The video of a masked and hooded man firing shots into the air from a handgun in Ardoyne, north Belfast last Saturday was later posted up on YouTube.
It happened during the Henry Joy McCracken Republican Flute Band parade which was organised by Republican Network for Unity, the political wing of ONH.
A number of young children, dressed in paramilitary style clothing, took part in the parade which was not monitored from the ground or air by the PSNI.
The gun fire incident is now under investigation by the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch.
A security source said ONH was trying to extract further money from supporters in America by putting the video on the internet.
In recent weeks, ONH has also been attempting to collect “£50 donations” from shopkeepers in republican areas of Belfast.
The terror group claims the money will be used to support its prisoners currently being held in Maghaberry jail on terror charges
“Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) are looking to bring in extra funds from whatever means it can,” said the security source.
“They don’t have anywhere near the support PIRA once had in America but there are still places in America who still support the aims of a terror campaign in Northern Ireland.
“Posting a video of a masked man firing a gun is part of that fundraising procss.
“This money is raised under the guise of ‘prisoner of war’ funds. But the majority of the money goes on buying materials to try and kill security force personnel.”
ONH has already claimed responsibility for leaving a 60kg beer keg bomb in Kinawley last month.
Police believed it was destined to blow up the local PSNI station.
However, ONH claimed the real target was Lough Erne Golf Resort which is to host June’s G8 summit.
It recently left a primed mortar bomb near New Barnsley PSNI station.
And it detonated a bomb on a towpath close to the M2 motorway near Hazelbank using a mobile phone in attempt to kill police officers who been lured into the area under false pretences.
Fortunately for the police offices, only part of the device exploded and the officers escaped uninjured.
The political fall out of over the dissdent republican gunman firing shots in Ardoyne on Saturday has not abated.
North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds, MLAs Nelson McCausland and William Humphrey met with the Chairman of the Parades Commission on Wednesday about a number of republican parades that took place in the MP’s constituency over the weekend.
This included the incidents of shots being fired at a republican mural and where young children took part in a parade dressed in paramilitary uniforms.
Following the meeting, Mr Dodds said: ‘The Parades Commission have been very quick to act on breaches of their code and of determinations issued against parades from within the unionist or loyalist community.
“Footage has emerged of a masked republican gunman firing shots at a parade over the weekend.
“This was a notified event organised by the Henry Joy McCracken republican flute band, so there are obviously questions that the Parades Commission must answer about this event.
“This fits into a pattern of other dissident republican breaches of Parades Commission determinations in the areas with no sanctions imposed.
“We were very clear with the Chairman of the Commission that there had to be repercussions for the organisers of this event given the nature of what occurred.
“The use of young children dressed in paramilitary uniforms was another disturbing event over the last number of days.
“The silence from Sinn Fein on this issue has been notable when they are always very keen to make comment about parading issues within the unionist community.
“We will continue to press these issues with both the Parades Commission and the police to ensure that they are investigated fully and that appropriate action is taken against both the illegal activity and breaches in Parades Commission determinations,” added Mr Dodds.
In a statement posted on an Ardoyne internet blog on Wednesday, the Henry Joy McCracken RFB tried to defend the use of children in its parade.
“We, in conjunction with Republican Network for Unity, held our fifth Annual Fianna Eireann comemmoration on Saturday 30th March,” said the statement.
“Three young local people dressed in period costume of Na Fianna Eireann accompanied our march to the Ardoyne Fianna plaque and mural on the Berwick Road.
“At the conclusion of the march, a masked man appeared and fired a volley over the mural. This action was taken without any prior knowledge of any of the event organisers.
“The detractors to this event, namely Nigel Dodds and Nelson McCausland are happy to watch as Nationalist areas of North Belfast are left in a state of chronic environmental deprivation.
“They preside over and facilitate high levels of poverty, unemployment and a general want.
“As such their new found concern for the youth and children of Ardoyne will be treated with the contempt it deserves.”