Friday 28 July 2017

PIRA still exists, says North's police chief

An independent examination ordered by the government said all the main Troubles paramilitary organisations retained structures, though their leaders were committed to the peace process (Stock picture)
An independent examination ordered by the government said all the main Troubles paramilitary organisations retained structures, though their leaders were committed to the peace process (Stock picture)

David Young

The PSNI's Chief Constable George Hamilton has confirmed the PIRA still exists, as first reported in an assessment given to the Northern Irish Secretary of State in October last.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt met with Hamilton as the UUP and other smaller Stormont parties mull over whether to join a Democratic Unionist/Sinn Féin led administration or form an opposition.

After the meeting at PSNI headquarters in Belfast, the UUP leader said: "The Chief Constable confirmed no change from the assessment given to the Secretary of State last October - PIRA still exists.

"This is not surprising, but disappointing, given PIRA have drawn the roadmap that others are following."

The UUP walked out of the powersharing administration last autumn amid a crisis sparked by a murder linked to the Provisional IRA.

A subsequent independent examination ordered by the government said all the main Troubles paramilitary organisations retained structures, though their leaders were committed to the peace process.

"The Chief Constable's assessment does not make re-entry to the Executive any more attractive, but we have two other tests regarding the Programme for Government to which we expect to have answers in a few short days," he said.

Irish Independent

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