What's been said so far in the crisis
19 February - "An Garda Siochana hold no information or intelligence to support the assertion (in a story by Jim Cusack in the Sunday Independent) that 'the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette-smuggling and counterfeiting.'
"In November 2009, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), the body appointed to monitor the ceasefire, issued its report. The IMC, with the benefit of briefings from An Garda Siochana, the PSNI and UK Police, and security agencies in the UK and America, reported inter alia, in relation to the PIRA; Military departments and other PlRA structures disbanded. Former terrorist capability has been lost. Some former members engaged in crime for personal gain but without sanction or support. Maintaining clear stance against all terrorist activity."
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
"We assess that some Provisional IRA organisational infrastructure continues to exist but has undergone significant change since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998. Some, primarily operational level, structures were changed and some elements have been dissolved completely since 2005.
"We assess that in the organisational sense the Provisional IRA does not exist for paramilitary purposes. Nevertheless, we assess that in common with the majority of Northern Ireland paramilitary groups from the period of the conflict, some of the PIRA structure from the 1990s remains broadly in place, although its purpose has radically changed since this period. Our assessment indicates that a primary focus of the Provisional IRA is now promoting a peaceful, political Republican agenda. It is our assessment that the Provisional IRA is committed to following a political path and is no longer engaged in terrorism...We have no information to suggest that violence, as seen in the murder of Kevin McGuigan, was sanctioned or directed at a senior level in the Republican movement... Some current Provisional IRA and former members continue to engage in a range of criminal activity and occasional violence in the interest of personal gain or personal agendas."
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton
"The IRA is an illegal organisation, so if the gardai had any evidence to suggest there are structures and memberships in the Republic intact, well then they would have to act on that, and people would have to be arrested."
Minister for Agriculture
"In July 2005 the IRA left the stage. Its leadership ordered an end to the armed campaign; its representatives to 'engage with the Independent International Commission on decommissioning to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use' and instructed its volunteers to take part only in 'purely political and democratic programmes' and 'no other activities whatsoever."
Sinn Fein leader
"It is clearly the case that recent developments have raised concerns which need to be addressed fully in light of any evidence that may emerge."
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald
"While I accept the assessment of the PSNI and the Garda that the Provisional IRA is no longer involved in terrorist activity, that is of little comfort given that members of the organisation are clearly involved in serious criminality. This is an insidious threat to Northern Ireland's future as a healthy, stable democracy, and therefore a threat to the whole of this island."
"I share the view of the Chief Constable. I think it is clear, as he stated, that the Provisional IRA still exists. There are some organisational structures intact. But there is no evidence that the organisation is involved in paramilitary or terrorist activities."
Northern Secretary Therese Villiers
"The Chief Constable's comments will have sent a chill down the spine of very many Irish citizens. The Provisional IRA is still in existence and continues to maintain a command structure …The peace process has been put at risk by the dishonesty of the Provisional Sinn Fein and IRA leadership. They attack everyone who questions them and labels them anti-peace process. Sinn Fein does not have sole ownership of the process and, through its behaviour is causing more damage to the process than any of those it has been attacking."
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin
"It is fair to ask Sinn Fein how they intend to address a legacy they are responsible for. Will Mr Adams apologise for the dreadful legacy of crime and lawlessness left in the wake of the brutal campaign which PIRA wages, and say what steps he takes to ensure there is no place in Sinn Fein for people who engage in serious crime? Will he apologise for the fact that people who PIRA trained to kill may be continuing to do so in whatever capacity? And will he explain what parts of smuggling and money laundering ever honoured the legacy of 1916, which his party wish to hijack?"
Minister for Justice
"The choice was between an IRA that became an inert, withering husk or an open goal opportunity for dissidents to re-form an army council as the legitimate heir to the body which had been 'treacherously' wound up. …The governments took the view that an inert, freeze-dried husk of the IRA was preferable to passing the ideological torch to the dissidents."
Michael McDowell, former Justice Minister, revealing that the Provisional IRA was allowed by the British and Irish governments to remain in existence
"It has been asserted by some that An Garda Siochana has denied the existence of the Provisional IRA…It was stated (previously) that An Garda Siochana held no information or intelligence to support that assertion. That…was consistent with the findings of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) and An Garda Siochana's own assessment of intelligence…The IMC's reports concluded, amongst other things, that the so-called 'military departments' had been disbanded and the former terrorist capability had been lost. The IMC has not indicated at any time that the PIRA had ceased to exist; nor has An Garda Siochana. The Garda position is that there has been no evidence available in this jurisdiction to call into question the assessment made by the IMC…My letter (of 19 February) did not deal with the question of whether PIRA continued to exist. Instead it dealt only with a specific question as to whether 'the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting.' It was stated in reply (to that question) that An Garda Siochana held no information or intelligence to support that assertion."
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan