Monday 20 May 2019

Kenny slams SF claims on IRA as 'incredible'

Kevin McGuigan
Kevin McGuigan

Lise Hand

The Taoiseach has launched an attack on Sinn Féin, saying that statements that the IRA have disbanded or left the stage "are simply not credible".

He said that in the aftermath of the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast last month, "we have become used to incredible statements, be they about past activity, murder, robbery, child abuse".

Mr Kenny added that while "constructive ambiguity" once helped the peace process, "that time is now past", and he called on the Sinn Féin leadership to "address these issues" and to help restore the trust which has broken down between the parties in Stormont.

However, he said that "the shadow of the gunman, the poison of paramilitarism is not just confined to so-called republicans. It is still deeply embedded in loyalist communities, often with nakedly criminal agendas."

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams recently stated,"The war is over and the IRA is gone and is not coming back".

Addressing over 100 people at the British Irish Association at Queen's College in Cambridge last night, Mr Kenny also issued a stark warning on the risk a Brexit would pose to the peace process, and also launched a strong appeal to Britain not to leave the EU, saying its exit would cause uncertainty to Irish business and could be a setback for the British-Irish relationship.

Mr Kenny said that the two countries' economies are closely aligned "so we can't afford - as Irish businesses have made clear - the commercial uncertainty of a British withdrawal".

He added that Ireland is "working actively" but "diplomatically and respectfully" to help the UK remain within in the European Union "and we do so while fully protecting our own national interests in all the areas for negotiation".

This is the Taoiseach's first major speech on the so-called Brexit referendum which British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to hold before the end of 2017 - the outcome of which is of great concern to both governments as the two countries trade over €1bn worth of goods and services a week, and the UK exports more to Ireland than it does to China, India and Brazil combined.

"A British departure from the EU would risk setting back so much of our collective good work on the British-Irish relationship," he said. "None of us should underestimate just how profound the implications would be, and for Northern Ireland in particular. We do not want to see new barriers on the island of Ireland or between Britain and Ireland - the work of peace-building in Ireland has been all about removing barriers," he added.

Irish Independent

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