IRA ‘could be taken off British Government’s banned list’
Published 24/06/2008 | 17:30
The IRA could be taken off the British Government's list of banned organisations, it was disclosed yesterday.
The group handed over weapons and stood down members in July 2005 after 30 years of violence.
The government's terrorism expert Lord Carlile said some proscribed organisations connected with Northern Ireland had dwindled to almost or actually nothing.
``Given the level of intelligence probably available about such organisations ministers should consider carefully whether some should be removed from the list on the grounds of effective redundancy,'' he said.
In April 2006 the British and Irish government-appointed Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) said the IRA was committed to following the political path and engaging with the police.
An NIO spokesman said: ``We have noted the requirement for the status of all paramilitary organisations to be reviewed and the Northern Ireland groups will be reviewed in the coming months.''
The IRA's renunciation of violence was a key factor in unionists' decision to share political power with Sinn Fein at Stormont. It faces calls for an end to its ruling army council before policing powers can be handed down to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
A Sinn Féin spokesman said: “Regardless of what Lord Carlile and the NIO say, the reality is the legislation should be removed from the statute books.
“This has been abused down the years and should have no place in the human rights culture we are trying to establish here.”