Belfast Telegraph

'It can't be business as usual' says Dodds over IRA involvement in Kevin McGuigan murder

DUP 'hopeful' of meeting with Prime Minister

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said it can't be business as usual at Stormont with claims the Provisional IRA was involved in murder.

The North Belfast MP was speaking after a meeting with Secretary of State Theresa Villiers on Thursday afternoon.

He said: "We raised with the secretary of state that it cannot be business as usual until this matter is resolved and she agreed with us.

"We will take this matter forward and continue our meetings with police.

"We have asked for a meeting with the Prime Minister and we are hopeful that will happen very soon.

"We are determined, that one way or another, we have government in Northern Ireland consisting of people committed to peaceful and democratic means only."

Mr Dodds said the current evidence of Provisional IRA activity was enough to force the exclusion of Sinn Fein from the Executive.

He said his party would push for the republican party to be thrown out of the administration if it did not deal with the revelations about the organisation's involvement of the murder of Kevin McGuigan.

Father-of-nine, Mr McGuigan, was gunned down outside his home in the Short Strand area of Belfast two weeks ago.

It is believed the attack was in retaliation for the killing of former IRA leader Jock Davison in May.

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Police said members of the IRA were involved but that there was no evidence to suggest the killing was sanctioned at a senior level.

Sinn Fein members have repeatedly said the IRA has "gone away".

Mr Dodds indicated his party would be prepared to bring down the institutions if the issue was not dealt with "very speedily".

"On the basis of what we know already," Mr Dodds said, "there is sufficient basis on what the chief constable is saying about IRA members being involved in violence and murder and that IRA organisation exists, for an exclusion motion to be put down.

"We will continue to monitor the situation in terms of what the chief constable will say to us and what the Government and others say to us but there is no reason at all, as things stand at the moment, why there should not be the exclusion of Sinn Fein on the basis of what the chief constable has already said ."

In the aftermath of the PSNI's assessment of IRA's involvement in the McGuigan murder, UUP leader Mike Nesbitt announced his party intends to walk out of the Executive.

That has heaped pressure on the DUP to follow suit - a move that would bring down the powersharing institutions.

Outlining the party's position after what he described as a "constructive" discussion with Ms Villiers, Mr Dodds said the DUP wanted to exert pressure on Sinn Fein to deal with the issue.

Barring action from the republican party, he said the DUP would be pressing for the support of the Government and remaining Executive parties for an exclusion motion.

If that was not forthcoming, Mr Dodds indicated the DUP would be prepared to bring down the administration itself.

The Alliance Party and SDLP are not currently supporting the DUP calls for Sinn Fein's exclusion.

Mr Dodds added: "Our interest is ensuring that this matter is dealt with, that Sinn Fein are put under pressure, that they are forced to deal with this matter and that, if they don't, then they are excluded or devolved government does not continue on that basis - that is our priority, that is our objective."

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