Portlaoise jail: factions

A Co Louth man convicted last month of IRA membership has been thrown off the republican wing in Portlaoise jail after prisoners from all the main dissident organisations joined together and accused him of bullying other inmates and of being involved in criminality.

Barry O'Brien from Dundalk has been moved to an isolation unit. Senior dissident sources alleged that O'Brien's behaviour in the jail had become "intolerable" and that he had been intimidating other republicans, stealing food, and "causing trouble" among prisoners.

The sources also said that an investigation into O'Brien's activities before he was jailed had shown that he was involved in serious crime, the details of which they specified.

In a show of unity, prisoners from the Real IRA, Óglaigh na hÉireann, and the INLA joined forces to have O'Brien dumped from the republican wing.

O'Brien was associated with a breakaway faction of the Continuity IRA. The leadership of that breakaway group said that O'Brien completely denied the allegations, which were "total lies". The paramilitary organisation is standing completely behind O'Brien. Last year, the High Court appointed the legal officer of the Criminal Assets Bureau as receiver over two properties owned by O'Brien after ruling they were acquired through the proceeds of crime.