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Garda Commissioner has ‘no regrets’ over Sinn Fein comments

Drew Harris rejected suggestions his comments about Sinn Fein and the Provisional Army Council were politically motivated.

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Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (Brian Lawless/PA)

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said he has “no regrets” over his comments linking Sinn Fein to the Provisional Army Council.

Last Friday, Mr Harris said he agrees with a 2015 PSNI assessment that Sinn Fein and the IRA are overseen by a Provisional Army Council.

A report commissioned by the British government on the status of Irish terrorist groups in 2015, which was written by the PSNI and MI5, stated the Provisional Army Council still existed.

Mr Harris said: “We have contributed and continue to contribute to the IRC (Independent Reporting Commission) reporting on the status of various paramilitary groups, and we would hold then with their opinions on these matters.

I would never engage in political interference and my comments require no clarificationDrew Harris

“I am also aware of the PSNI and the British security services assessment and we do not differ from that view.”

Speaking after a meeting of the Policing Authority in Dublin, he told Newstalk FM he rejected accusations the timing of his comments were politically motivated.

He said: “I’ve no regrets and I think my comments were entirely clear so there’s no need for a clarification.

“I would never engage in political interference and my comments require no clarification. I think it’s obvious that I do stand over those comments.”

Responding to his comments last week, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the IRA does not exist.

She said: “The reality is that we now live in a peaceful dispensation, the war is over, the IRA has gone away and democracy is the order of the day and there’s no dispute around that.

“Everyone knows that republicans are absolutely committed to democracy and to the peace process. Drew Harris, the PSNI and others also know that Sinn Fein members including Michelle O’Neill have actually been threatened by dangerous elements and by so-called dissident elements.”

PA