Sunday 21 July 2019

'No info' provos involved in crimes

Anne Campbell

Gardai 'have no information or intelligence to support the assertion that the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confined its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting' according to a letter received by Sinn Fein from the office of the Commissioner Noreen O'Sullivan.

The letter was received by the party in the wake of allegations by Sunday Independent journalist Jim Cusack that illegal cigarettes have become 'one of the IRA's main sources of income, along with fuel laundering' and alleged the Provos still retains their military command structure.

And last month Mr Cusack claimed that fuel launderers, linked to the Provos, were dumping toxic diesel sludge into waterways that feed into the reservoirs that serve the drinking water supply to Dundalk and North Louth.

Tests by Irish Water showed that the water coming from taps in Dundalk was clean and safe to drink.

Louth TD Gerry Adams said Sinn Fein's justice spokesperson, Padraig MacLochlainn, wrote to the commissioner after Mr Cusack made the allegations about the illegal cigarette trade.

A letter received last week from the Commissioner's Private Secretary on behalf of Commissioner, O'Sullivan said: 'An Garda Síochána hold no information or intelligence to support the assertion of Mr Cusack that 'the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette-smuggling and counterfeiting.

The letter goes on to say the Independent Monitoring Commission in 2009 confirmed that the IRA structures were disbanded, that some former members were engaged in crime for personal gain but without sanction or support; and this was based on briefings from An Garda Síochána, the PSNI, and UK police and security agencies in the UK and America.

Mr Adams said: 'There have been ongoing efforts by some journalists and political leaders to demonise border communities in North Louth, South Down and South Armagh.

'They have also sought to blame republicans on criminal activities which Sinn Féin has stood firmly against.

'The letter from Commissioner O'Sullivan disproves these spurious claims. Sinn Féin is working with the Garda and PSNI against criminality of all kinds."

Mr MacLochalinn said: 'The letter from the Garda Commissioner contradicts the claims of the small number of journalists who have pedalled bogus accusations about republicans.

'It is a clear rejection of other allegations, including the disgraceful claim that republicans were poisoning the water system for Dundalk'.

Irish Independent