North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again supervised a “new weapon” launch complicating efforts at denuclearisation ahead of next week’s visit to Seoul by the US envoy to Pyongyang.
Friday’s launch was the North’s sixth test in recent weeks as it protests the annual US-South Korea military exercises which Pyongyang considers rehearsals for invasion.
Defence officials in Seoul said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles Friday, that flew some 230 kilometres (140 miles) before splashing down in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.
Martin later told reporters that two Irish republican dissident groups, the New IRA and the Continuity IRA, “would be a very good starting point for the investigation”.
He added: “It’s fair to say their level of activity has increased this year.”
Concerns have grown that the possible return of a hard border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit could increase security tensions in the once war-torn province.
Martin said violent attacks had grown in recent months, calling on politicians to take action to heal enduring divisions in society.
“Terrorism of this nature is a societal problem,” he said. “We shouldn’t take our peace for granted.”
Three decades of conflict known as “the Troubles”, in which more than 3,500 people were killed, largely ended in Northern Ireland with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Violent incidents have continued, however.
In April, a journalist was shot dead by Irish republican dissidents during rioting in Londonderry.
“I strongly condemn the cowardly actions of those responsible for this bomb attack, which could have had devastating consequences,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.
“There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims,” he said.