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Saturday 21 April 2018

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to meet with Government this morning over threat posed by IRA

Garda Commisioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Garda Commisioner Noirin O'Sullivan

Fionnan Sheahan & Niall O'Connor

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has been summoned to a meeting with the Government this morning on the threat posed by the IRA.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Joan Burton, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will meet the Commissioner to discuss what has been described as "security/IRA issues" at 8.30am this morning.

The discussion comes before the Cabinet's first meeting after the summer break.

The surprise meeting comes after the Commissioner was ordered to reassess the level of threat posed by the IRA.

The renewed IRA activity has caused a crisis in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Last week, Labour Party ministers forced their Fine Gael counterparts to toughen their stance on the IRA activity. understands that the meeting was called on the back of a lengthy security briefing in Government buildings yesterday.

The meeting was attended by the commissioner, the Justice Minister,  senior gardai and Government officials. 

Earlier this year, the Garda chief said there was no evidence of IRA activity.

But senior Gardai privately say this was a mistake.

The meeting implies the Coalition is not willing to sit back and wait for the Commissioner to compile a report on the IRA.

Bringing the Garda chief to report to the high ranking quarter in the Government's first day back at work injects a new level of urgency into the security assessment.

Last week, Commissioner O’Sullivan admitted the Provisional IRA exists – ending days of silence on a controversy that had engulfed political circles on both sides of the border.

In a statement, Ms O’Sullivan said An Garda Síochána “has not indicated at any time” that the Provisional IRA ceased to exist.

She said the views are consistent with a report by the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) which found that while the terrorist capability of the IRA has been the lost, the organisation remains intact.

But Ms O’Sullivan stood over a controversial letter she sent to a Sinn Féin TD in February which said the force has no “intelligence” to support claims that the IRA’s military structures remain in place.

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