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08.31 24 Aug 2015


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The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, has reiterated her support of the views of the PSNI that the Provisional IRA is still in operation.

The Minister has said in a statement released this evening that it is “of great importance” that the investigation into the killing of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast “is allowed to continue unhindered, wherever it may lead.”

“There is no place in any democracy for any ambivalence by anyone about the rule of law.

“It is clearly the case that recent developments have raised concerns which need to be addressed fully in the light of any evidence that may emerge,” she said.

The Garda Commissioner has told the Minister that Gardaí are in close contact with the PSNI in relation the the investigation into the killing.

Last week, PSNI chief George Hamilton said elements of the IRA were responsible for the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast. Mr Hamilton said the group was not engaged in terrorist activity or "on a war footing" as they were during The Troubles.

Sinn Féin have vehemently denied the claim that the IRA is still in existence, with party president Gerry Adams making firm denials that the group is still operating.

Earlier today Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the IRA does not exist, and will not exist in the future.

“They no longer exist. That’s exactly as the situation as 10 years ago ... and I have every confidence that no such structure will ever reconvene,” he said.

Earlier this year, the garda commissioner wrote a letter to Sinn Féin - which said the garda force had ‘no information or intelligence’ to support the suggestion the IRA still maintains its criminal structure.

The Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin told Newstalk Lunchtime today that he disagrees with the a statement from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald that the Provisional IRA no longer exist as a terrorist organisation.

Mr Martin was speaking to Jonathan Healy when he raised his concerns about statements that were made: "The IRA does exist and Francis Fitzgerald says it doesn't exist as a terrorist organisation".

He continued: "We need to be clear that those who committed and those who undertook the inquiries, who carried out the executions; they're primarily responsible for undermining the peace process and put it at risk".

He finished by stating: "It's absolutely clear that there should be no tolerance, no equivocation in relation to any armed wing still in existence for whatever purpose".

You can listen to his interview here:

"The IRA is gone"

Earlier, a member of the Stormont Assembly echoed comments from the Sinn Féin leader that "the IRA is gone and is not coming back".

The foreign affairs and justice ministers are to meet the Northern Secretary next week, to discuss the political fallout from the killing.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has claimed that the Provisional IRA has ended its armed campaign, and had no involvement in the murder of Mr McGuigan.

Mr Hamilton also said he has no information to suggest orders to shoot down Mr McGuigan were sanctioned at a senior level in the republican movement.

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly insists there is no evidence that the IRA is active in any way.

And he told Newstalk Breakfast he rejects reports that former members have been doing their own investigations into the murder of Gerard 'Jock' Davison in Belfast.


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