Belfast Telegraph

Pressure grows on Sinn Fein in Republic as Tanaiste warns of Provos' 'insidious threat'

By Niall O'Connor

The leader of the Irish Labour Party has warned of an "insidious threat" posed by the IRA.

Tanaiste Joan Burton last night said it was clear that communities were still at risk from an organisation linked to "murder and racketeering".

And she claimed assertions by the gardai and the PSNI that the IRA is no longer involved in terrorism is of "little comfort" given the threat posed by the group and its criminal members.

"This is an insidious threat to Northern Ireland's future as a healthy, stable democracy, and therefore a threat to the whole of this island," Ms Burton said.

The remarks came as some Fine Gael TDs said they were miffed by the apparent weak response from Irish Cabinet members, especially Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Unease is growing within Irish political and Garda circles over the continued failure by Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to endorse remarks by her PSNI counterparts that IRA structures remain in place. Mr Kelly was joined in his attack by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

Mr Martin said: "The murders of the last two to three weeks have, if you like, removed the veil, exposed the reality of what actually is the situation in terms of the IRA and Sinn Fein, the interchangeability of its members and its offices in regard to supporting the political project that is Sinn Fein."

Fine Gael minister Richard Bruton said the revelations by the PSNI that the IRA was still in existence were deeply worrying.

Ms Fitzgerald last night reiterated her support for the PSNI's position that the IRA still exists.

"There is no place in any democracy for any ambivalence by anyone about the rule of law," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"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 has remained deeply loyal to the Garda Commissioner, whose claims previously that there is no intelligence to suggest the IRA maintains its structures raised eyebrows within the Republic's police force.

Belfast Telegraph


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