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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Gardai are following the 'money trail' linked to IRA

Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan
Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan

Philip Ryan and Niall O'Connor

Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan has assured the Government the force will continue to "follow the money trail" linked to former Provisional IRA members who are involved in criminality.

Ms O'Sullivan was called to Government Buildings to brief Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton amid growing concern over claims from the PSNI that the PIRA still exists.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan also attended the meeting, ahead of their crunch talks with the Secretary of State to Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers.

Ms O'Sullivan and Ms Fitzgerald also met on Monday to discuss the fallout from the Provo controversy ahead of the meeting with the Taoiseach.

Well-placed sources said the Commissioner yesterday briefed Mr Kenny and his Cabinet colleagues on ongoing Garda operations relating to former members of the terrorist organisation.

It was pointed out that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) have a number of cases before the Special Criminal Courts involving former members of the Provisional IRA.

"We outlined the success we had with CAB in targeting people who had associations with PIRA and who, since the peace process, are involved in criminality - there have been significant successes in this area," a source told the Irish Independent.

The source added: "These guys have been involved in criminality for a long time. They are well used to channelling funds through different accounts, different companies and different fronts. The difficulty is following that money trail."

An Garda Síochána's work on cracking down on dissident republicans was also highlighted during the meeting.

Discussions between gardaí and the PSNI on the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast was also raised.

After the meeting, Mr Kenny said it was clear from the PSNI's views that IRA members remained involved in criminality - but not terrorist activity.

He also attacked Sinn Féin by referring to the use of "safe houses" by members of the republican movement to cover up sexual abuse.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams hit back at the Taoiseach and warned him not to "play politics" with the murders of Mr McGuigan and Gerard 'Jock' Davison.

Mr Flanagan raised the possibility of bringing back the Independent Monitoring Commission to Northern Ireland after meeting with Ms Villiers, who also supported the proposal.

Irish Independent

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