The IRA does not exist, says Ó Caoláin

The IRA does not exist, says Ó Caoláin

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that the IRA does not exist, and will not be reconvening in future.

Deputy Ó Caoláin was responding to calls by Environment Minister Alan Kelly on party President Gerry Adams to clarify that the organisation had fully disbanded.

Last week, PSNI chief George Hamilton claimed that elements of the IRA were responsible for the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast, a claim Sinn Féin has denied.

Deputy O’Caolain reiterated that today, saying that the organisation has been disbanded.

"They no longer exist," said Deputy Ó Caoláin.

"That's exactly as the situation was 10 years ago, it has maintained absolutely, and I have every confidence that no such structure will ever reconvene."

He added: "With an election looming it is no surprise that other parties have attacked Sinn Féin. This is highly cynical and wholly self-serving."

However, the mother of a man murdered in a shed in Co Monaghan has said that the IRA has not gone away.

Paul Quinn (aged 21) from Cullyhanna in Co Armagh was held hostage and beaten to death by a group of men on a farm at Tullycorra, Castleblayney on October 20, 2007.

His family believe the IRA killed him - a claim denied by republicans.

Paul Quinn's mother Breege told Northern Sound News that she believes the IRA still exist.

“They’re still out there,” she said.

“They mightn’t be shooting and bombing the police and the soldiers, but they’re still out controlling the people, which they always did.”

The UK’s Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said that a police assessment that the Provisional IRA does still exists did not come as a surprise to the British government.

Ms Villiers said she shared the view of the North’s police chief that some structures of the organisation remain in place, but it is not engaged in terrorist activity.

Asked at the weekend about the status of the PIRA given the suspected connection to the shooting of 53-year-old Kevin McGuigan, PSNI chief constable George Hamilton said it still exists, but is not on a terror footing.

Reacting to Mr Hamilton’s view, Ms Villiers said: “It didn’t come as a surprise to me.

“My understanding is, very much in line with that of the chief constable, that a number of the organisational structures of the Provisional IRA still exist but that there is no evidence it’s involved in terrorism or paramilitary activity.”

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