Bullet in the post means Sinn Fein is not fit to govern, claims TUV chief Allister
A death threat sent in the name of the IRA to a Belfast mother-of-five shows that Sinn Fein should not be in government, TUV leader Jim Allister has said.
And the DUP said the incident raises serious questions for the republican party.
A sympathy card with a round inside was posted to the Short Strand home of Martina McDonnell, a friend of the family of IRA murder victim Kevin McGuigan. It was signed 'IRA'.
The PSNI is investigating the death threat. Detectives are examining the card and bullet and police have advised Martina about increasing her family's security.
Speaking exclusively in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph, Martina said she wouldn't be intimidated by "cowards and bullyboys". She added: "This shows what people in this area know too well - the IRA hasn't gone away."
Mr Allister said: "The death threat received by Martina McDonnell illustrates that while unionists pontificate about Sinn Fein needing to admit the IRA exists, or practise political hokey cokey with their Executive ministers, republicans linked to a party of government continue to rule communities by fear and the threat of a gun.
"With a mother-of-five receiving a sympathy card from the IRA containing a bullet, because of her friendship with the family of an IRA murder victim, no one should be in any doubt as to the nature of the movement unionists have ushered into the heart of government.
"What is needed is not crisis talks to get a morally bankrupt system back up and running, but a facing down of Sinn Fein/IRA and the bringing to justice of those behind murder and intimidation.
"The present system which sees Sinn Fein/IRA ministers remain in office cannot be defended by anyone committed to democracy."
Mr Allister added "no fancy formula of words and no shiny new IMC" would change the fact that the IRA retains weapons and reserves the right to use them.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the death threat raised serious questions for Sinn Fein: "A family receiving a bullet in the post will feel extremely vulnerable. The police will hopefully have some idea who the likely perpetrators are, given their other leads in relation to the murder of Kevin McGuigan.
"There are only a certain number of people who could send a card like that; not everyone has access to live bullets. Hopefully, there will be an emphatic Sinn Fein response in not just condemning this death threat but in offering assistance in bringing those responsible to justice."
Former UUP minister Danny Kennedy said: "This death threat is a very sinister development and appears to be linked to the murder of Kevin McGuigan.
"It is essential that police take it seriously and offer appropriate advice and protection to Martina and her family. This very worrying incident must be part of the ongoing PSNI investigation into IRA activity in the Short Strand area of Belfast.
"In this day and age, no mother should be receiving death threats. It is disgusting and unacceptable that this level of intimidation is still around in 2015."