Former terrorists still as powerful as ever
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's statement that the Provisional IRA no longer exists will be welcomed by the new-look Sinn Féin.
The party faithful can now wave this letter of comfort in the air when critics attempt to highlight the links between former senior Provisionals and their families with the burgeoning trade in criminality in the Border region and further afield. The commissioner is, of course, theoretically correct when she acknowledges in a response to correspondence from Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn that the force holds no intelligence to support any assertion that the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure. But any member of the force based close to the Border, as well as representatives of the Customs service and the Defence Forces, will confirm that many of its former members have not gone away and are still very active - even if they are no longer directly involved as terrorists.
List a crime that is continually lucrative in the Border counties and, if you scratch slightly below the surface, you will find the same family names that existed there in the past.