Saturday 10 December 2016

Garda commissioner insists that PIRA is not involved in crime

Published 11/09/2015 | 02:30

Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD, An Tanaiste Joan Burton TD and Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan pictured at the Garda Graduation Ceremony at the Garda College, Templemore, Co. Tipperary
Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD, An Tanaiste Joan Burton TD and Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan pictured at the Garda Graduation Ceremony at the Garda College, Templemore, Co. Tipperary

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan still holds the view that the Provisional IRA, as a proscribed organisation, is not involved in criminal activity.

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In her latest assessment of the current status of the Provisionals, she has accepted that former members of the organisation are carrying out crime.

But she stressed that they were acting without the control or sanction of the IRA.

Ms O'Sullivan warned yesterday that if any intelligence, hard evidence or facts emerged to indicate that the IRA was active in this jurisdiction, the gardaí would certainly take action.

She is currently preparing a report for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on the garda view of the Provisional IRA.

It comes in the wake of the statement by PSNI chief constable George Hamilton that current members of the organisation could have been involved murdering Kevin McGuigan in Belfast.

She said the existing garda assessment remained consistent with the findings of the Independent Monitoring Commission that the IRA's military structures had been disbanded.

And she added that gardaí believed the IRA had given up its terrorist capacity.

She said she was very conscious of the ongoing PSNI investigations and did not want to make any comment that might impact on those "fluid" inquiries.

Any new emerging lines of inquiry that could be relevant to this jurisdiction would be taken into account in the garda assessment of the IRA, which was continually under review.

She pointed out that there had been significant garda successes in targeting former IRA members who were involved in criminal activity, while assets had also been seized in a number of cases.

Ms O'Sullivan was also asked about the procedures in relation to the possession of mobile phone Sim cards and personal papers when a senior garda officer retired or resigned.

The Fennelly Report said that former garda commissioner Martin Callinan shredded up to 10 bags of personal files and was unable to provide a SIM card to his official work phone after his retirement.

Shredded

Ms O'Sullivan said there were policies and guidelines in place but they were being reviewed in the context of the Fennelly Commission and would be fully addressed.

An examination of the Fennelly findings was being carried out by an assistant commissioner and she did not want to compromise or influence that review.

When asked if Mr Callinan had acted inappropriately, she said: "No, I certainly wouldn't say that until the examination has been completed and then any issue identified will be fully dealt with."

Irish Independent

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