Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan refuses to rule out claims that the IRA is still operating in Ireland

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan at the National Women’s Council of Ireland 'A Woman’s Place is in the World' conference at Dublin Castle. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Philip Ryan, Political Correspondent

GARDA Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan has refused to rule out claims that the IRA is still operating in Ireland.

Speaking before an Oireachtas Justice Committee, Senator James Heffernan claimed areas of Belfast, Monaghan, Cavan and Louth were being ruled by threat and intimidation by the IRA.

And Mr Heffernan then asked the Garda Commissioner if the former military wing of Sinn Fein was still operating in these areas.

Ms O’Sullivan said she was aware of individuals and groups involved in organised crime in those areas. She said gardai are working with their international counterparts to “dismantle” organised crime.

“An Garda Siochana will investigate any individual or any group that is involved in organised crime or terrorism,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

Mr Heffernan again asked if she believed the IRA existed and the Commissioner responded: “we will investigate any allegation of criminality”.

Mr Heffernan referred to a letter the Commissioner’s office issued to Sinn Fein on the back of a report in the Sunday Independent that military structures of the IRA still existed and were involved in organised crime.

The commissioner responded by quoting the Independent Monitoring Commission’s 2009 report which found the IRA’s structures had disbanded and “former terrorist capability has been lost”

The report also mentioned that some former members were involved in crime for personal gain but this was without sanction.