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Thursday 8 December 2016

IRA army council runs Sinn Féin, say Provos

Kevin Doyle, Philip Ryan and Niall O’Connor

Published 21/10/2015 | 02:30

Commissioner Noirin O’Sulliivan, pictured with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Commissioner Noirin O’Sulliivan, pictured with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

The IRA still exists, Provos are involved in widespread criminality and members believe the army council runs Sinn Féin, a damning new reports on paramilitaries has concluded.

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The security assessment bluntly says the IRA “Provisional Army Council” remains in place and IRA members believe that the ruling body “oversees” Sinn Féin’s political strategy.

“PIRA members have been directed to actively support Sinn Féin within the community, including activity like electioneering and leafleting,” the report said.

The Provo structures still in place include “a senior leadership, the Provisional Army Council and some departments with specific responsibilities”.

However, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness rejected the allegation, saying his party takes “no instructions’ from anyone else.

The review, which was commissioned by the British government after the shooting of ex-IRA man Kevin McGuigan in August, found that all the main republican and loyalist groups still exist, but their leaders are committed to peace.

Yet gardaí have stood over claims that the Provisional IRA’s army council no longer exists – despite statements to the contrary in the PSNI/MI5 assessment.

The spotlight now falls firmly on Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, who

earlier this year said she had no information that the IRA maintained a military structure. A new garda report says there is no evidence of ‘military departments’ on this side of the Border.

It states: “There is clear evidence that a significant number of persons who have been associated with the PIRA remain criminally active, particularly in organised crime.”

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