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The Garda Commissioner has weighed in on the existence of the IRA

Noirin O’Sullivan tonight took the unusual step of intervening in an ongoing row.

Updated at 11pm

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NÓIRÍN O SULLIVAN has taken the unusual step of directly intervening in the ongoing row over the status of the Provisional IRA, following the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast earlier this month.

In a statement issued this evening, the Garda Commissioner insisted that An Garda Síochána had “not indicated at any time” that the PIRA no longer existed.

In what appears to be primarily an attempt to correct the public record, O’Sullivan said:

…It has been asserted by some that An Garda Síochána has denied the existence of the Provisional IRA.
These comments appear to be based on a letter issued by An Garda Síochána to a public representative last February.

At that time, Sinn Féin TD Padraig MacLochlainn published a letter sent to him on behalf of the Commissioner, which rejected claims made by Sunday Independent columnist Jim Cusack.

This evening, O’Sullivan clarified the position:

…That letter did not deal with the question of whether PIRA continued to exist.
Instead it dealt only with a specific question as to whether ‘the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting’.
It was stated in reply that An Garda Síochána held no information or intelligence to support that assertion.

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A controversy has erupted on both sides of the border since statements made by PSNI Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes regarding the possible involvement of PIRA members in the murder of ex-IRA prisoner Kevin McGuigan.

Earlier this week, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald asked the Garda Commissioner to provide a fresh assessment of the status of the Provisional IRA.

In her statement tonight, O’Sullivan said that report would be based on “intelligence, facts, and evidence.”

Our security assessments will continue to be based on credible intelligence, hard facts and emerging evidence.
I will, of course, be informing the Minister for Justice and Equality, as she has requested, of any issues emerging in relation to that liaison in the context of the current investigation.

In a column on this website earlier today, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams firmly rejected criticism of his party, and declared:

The war is over and the IRA is gone and is not coming back.

Column: Gerry Adams – ‘Sinn Féin has no special responsibility to respond to allegations about the IRA’>

Read: Burton – “Dried-out husks don’t set out to murder people”>

About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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