PIRA do not direct military ops here says O'Sullivan
Published 22/10/2015 | 02:30
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has maintained that while people associated with paramilitary activity continue to meet south of the border, they are not operating as an army council.
The Garda chief was defending a report into military structures in the South, which differed from a PSNI report that found Provisional IRA members believe an army council oversees Sinn Féin.
"It's true to say that in some cases, some persons who had been associated with PIRA are now involved with political groupings," she said.
However, she said a report carried out here found no evidence in this jurisdiction that the Provisional IRA army council continue to meet or continue to exist in the form that was once assumed.
"So, in other words, they do not meet to direct military operations and I think that's a very important distinction to make," she said.
Asked if the army council meet in the Republic for reasons other than military, she replied: "There is no doubt that people who have been associated with PIRA continue to associate, and it's like any group of people who have been members of an organisation or association, if they continue to associate.
"However, the fact is that when they associate, they're not associating in the capacity of operating as an army council."
She added that the report also showed that some members of what were known as the Provisional IRA remain involved in criminality. However, she stressed this was now "for personal gain".
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said Sinn Féin has "questions to answer" following the PSNI assessment that IRA members believe the army council oversees the political party.
Ms Fitzgerald described the claim as a "revelation", calling it "disturbing".
"Those are the questions that Sinn Féin has to answer and it's for other parties as well to reflect on it. No doubt a range of political parties will have questions on that. I think the serious follow-on question is what is the impact on the South in relation to that activity that happens in the North?
"What I'd like to see now is a focus on this issue in the talks and the acceptance of the reality of the descriptions that are in both of these reports by all political parties, including Sinn Féin, and attention to them and action taken," she added.
Ms Fitzgerald also stressed that Gerry Adams must now address long-standing questions about his own past.
Asked if it was credible for the Sinn Féin leader to now insist he was never in the IRA, the minister said the time for ambiguity was "long gone".
"That's a question a lot of people ask on an ongoing basis and we always get the same answer," she said.
"And I agree with the Taoiseach that the point for ambiguity is long gone. It's well over 10 years now, we really need this paramilitary legacy to be finished once and for all."