Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MPs and Assembly members are to meet today ahead of a “significant” announcement about powersharing in the North.
Unionists have threatened to exclude Sinn Féin from the ministerial Executive after revelations that the IRA still exists. A unionist walk out from the Stormont body is another option.
It follows remarks by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) that the paramilitary group still exists but is not engaged in terrorism.
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt
The PSNI also said some of its members were involved in the murder of father-of-nine Kevin McGuigan in Belfast two weeks ago but it was not sanctioned at a senior level.
Ireland’s Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has ordered a “fresh assessment” of the activities of the Provisional IRA by the Gardaí - even though Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has previously said the force has no "information or intelligence" on IRA activity.
Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said the Government was not "second-guessing" the Gardaí, but asking them to work with the PSNI "to understand in more detail where the Provisional IRA structures of the past are now."
The PSNI analysis – almost 20 years after the Provisional IRA’s last ceasefire and a decade on from decommissioning its weapons – has triggered another political controversy at Stormont.
Unionists have threatened a bid to exclude Sinn Féin from the devolved powersharing Executive. Sinn Féin said there is no basis for the threats.
But the North’s Secretary Theresa Villiers said she remained satisfied that all parties in the Assembly remained committed to peace.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said over the weekend the IRA has “gone away”.