Sinn Fein's Caoimhghin O Caolain says IRA assertions of PSNI and political rivals are 'wrong' and an 'absolute disgrace'
Sinn Fein's Caoimhghin O Caolain says the latest assertions about the existence of the IRA are "politically motivated" and are an "absolute disgrace".
Mr O Caolain, who represents the Cavan-Monaghan constituency, says his party has answered all questions, and called for evidence of any assertions of the existence of the IRA be subjected to full public scrutiny.
The Sinn Fein TD said the latest controversy - sparked after PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said the IRA exists but is not on a "war footing" - is " nakedly all about upcoming elections in the State and up north".
The PSNI is currently investigating the murders of two senior republicans - Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan.
"The IRA is not a structure that exists today," he told broadcaster Gavin Jennings on RTE Radio One programme 'Morning Ireland' earlier today.
"There is no evidence for any of the assertions they are making," he said, adding that whatever evidence they may have should be put out to full public scrutiny.
"The IRA no longer exists - that is my absolute belief," he added.
When asked where members of the IRA had gone, Mr O Caolain said that "many of those involved have involved themselves in the political project of Sinn Fein".
"Many, many others have gone back into their private lives wthin their families, their communities, many again of those that I know in my own area of the country are involved in the community, giving very very important energetic, constructive contributions to a raft of organisations,"he said.
The politician said the assertions made by politicians following the comments of the PSNI chief, made by Secretary for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers, Tanaiste Joan Burton and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald were all wrong.
"This isn't about questions. This is very very definitely a concerted effort on the part of the political parties.
"It's nakedly all about the upcoming elections in both the state and in the north and we have seen it all before.
"Make no mistake about it, in this situation, these irresponsible statements and charges have the potential to do real damage to all that has been achieved," he warned.
"I am deeply, deeply concerned having invested a great part of my life and conjunction with colleagues the length and breadth of the country that what we're seeing here has the potential to do serious damage to the political and peace processes that have been built on the powerful efforts of so many .
"These are not questions. Ask the question and we'll answer the question.
"We have answered the question very, very clearly - that's not what's happening here.
"From the commentary of [Fianna Fail leader] Micheal Martin and his sad and pathetic efforts and utterances to thwart the development of Sinn Fein, to Alan Kelly, Richard Bruton, Joan Burton and now Frances Fitzgerald..." Mr O Caolain said.
"The IRA can't have a view - Sinn Fein are telling it exactly how it is.
"Let's see how the investigation proceeds into these murders.
"They are wrong not only in their assertions, but they're fundamentally wrong in their motivation because their motivation behind all of what's being said in the past couple of days and weeks is not about justice for the families of the two murdered [men] and the grieving families of the Davison and McGuigan families, it's all politically and party politically motivated. It's an absolute disgrace," he said.
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