Thursday 8 December 2016

Garda and PSNI chiefs 'on the same page' over PIRA crime

Published 01/10/2015 | 02:30

Nóirín O'Sullivan
Nóirín O'Sullivan

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan insisted that gardaí and the PSNI were "on the same page" in assessing the role of former Provisional IRA activists in organised crime.

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But it was made clear that the two reviews of the current status of the IRA north and south of the Border were being carried out separately and reflected what was taking place in each jurisdiction.

The heads of the Garda and the PSNI say they have a shared understanding of organised crime on both sides of the Border, including the involvement of former paramilitaries.

This follows a series of meetings between the commissioner and PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton over the past two months in the wake of the two IRA murders in Belfast.

Mr Hamilton confirmed that the two had met several times in August and September and had a "shared understanding" of the role of former IRA personnel in organised crime. The police chiefs were speaking at the start of a two-day conference on organised crime in Sligo.

This is the 13th annual seminar involving more than a hundred delegates from the specialist units in the two police forces and senior officers based in the Border region, as well as representatives from other agencies - including the Revenue, Customs and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Part of the debate will focus on the ongoing controversy over the Provisional IRA - and security sources said the outcome of those discussions would feed into the overall assessment in the two jurisdictions.

Mr Hamilton said there was a timetable for the assessment in Northern Ireland and said it would be completed in weeks rather than months. While mindful of any political consequences arising from the controversy, he said the police investigations would not be fettered by them.

Irish Independent

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