Some years ago, reporting for The Irish Examiner newspaper on a flare-up of deadly violence by small bands of Irish republicans opposed to the peace process, I interviewed Anthony McIntyre, a writer, scholar and former IRA prisoner.

McIntyre, who became notable for his role as a researcher during the Boston Collage debacle that saw a US university archive raided to grab sealed testimonies from combatants from all sides in the Northern Ireland conflict, was himself, one might say, a “dissident” insofar as he dissented from the orthodoxies of Irish Republicanism.

But he was not a dissident in the same fashion as the so-called “New IRA”, which set off a bomb in Derry last weekend.

I asked McIntyre what he thought the future held for the new IRA splinter groupuscles that had sprung up at that time. He replied: “I don’t think they’re going anywhere—except prison”.