Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie has said questions must be asked about IRA decommissioning after dissident republican claims that they were being denied access to weapons used by the Provisionals.
Sunday Life reported that in secret recordings of a New IRA meeting dissidents complain bitterly about not having access to Provo guns and Semtex.
The meeting was bugged as part of an MI5 sting that has seen 10 people, including two women and a Palestinian doctor, charged with terror offences.
A source with knowledge of the MI5 recordings told the newspaper: “They start moaning about how they can’t get access to the Provo guns.
“These include AK47s, gimpys (general purpose machine-guns), three DHSK machine-guns, Russian-made heavy machine-guns and Semtex explosives.
“One of them claims a former Provo told them: ‘You are not worthy of IRA weaponry’.”
Mr Beattie said: “This reported conversation clearly implies that not all PIRA weapons were decommissioned 15 years ago, as was claimed at the time.
“It seems that some are still out there and the potential exists for them to fall into dissident hands.
“That is a cause for great concern.
“Serious questions must now be put to the PSNI and other security agencies.
“I would also like to hear from Sinn Fein on what they know of the decommissioning process.”
TUV leader Jim Allister said: “I am not at all surprised to hear that there are Provo weapons still at large. This report is confirmation of how big a con by republicas that ‘decommissioning’ was.”
However, all the weaponry controlled by the IRA was confirmed to have been decommissioned in 2005 when the senior IRA figure liaising with the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning gave an assurance that the organisation’s entire arsenal was put beyond use.
The decommissioning process was hailed by the British and Irish Governments, and praise was heaped on the committee headed by Canadian general John de Chastelain.
West Belfast-based Catholic priest Fr Alex Reid and former Methodist president Rev Harold Good witnessed the decommissioning.
In a statement afterwards, the two clergymen said: “We are satisfied that the arms decommissioning represents the totality of the IRA’s arsenal.”
It is claimed that in the MI5 recordings of the dissident meetings New IRA leaders boast of having raised significant funds abroad.
A source with knowledge of the recordings said: “They boast about raising £9m in America and Russia, the bulk of which came from America, but claim they can’t get access to the money.”
It is also claimed that the New IRA leaders complain about the lack of respect they receive compared to former IRA leaders.
A Glaswegian, Dennis McFadden, was last week named in court as an MI5 agent by lawyers representing those dissident republicans facing charges following the sting operation in Co Tyrone.
Houses were bugged during Operation Arbacia, which has devastated the New IRA.