A “significant number” of Provisional IRA associates are involved in organised crime — and more than 50 of them have paid €28m in criminal proceeds to the State, according to a Garda assessment.

The assessment said these former PIRA members “continue to associate” and make full use of their “reputations” and do not hesitate to use “terrorist tactics”.

The dossier — ordered after the murder of Kevin McGuigan by suspected PIRA members in Belfast in August — said that the criminal activities were for “personal gain” and there was “no evidence” they were directed by any leadership.

The report, published by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, said there was no change to previous Garda assessments on the security threat of the PIRA.

Kevin McGuigan
Kevin McGuigan

It reasserted the Garda’s agreement with the findings of the International Monitoring Commission — that the PIRA was on a political path and had abandoned terrorism and violence.

The assessment said that while “undoubtedly” people linked with the Provisional Army Council continued to associate, the body no longer functioned. It said a “residual leadership” committed to peace “continues to exist”.

Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan said there was a “substantial legacy” from the PIRA which gardaí still had to combat. They include the terrorism of the dissident republicans, which had their origins in the PIRA.

Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan
Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan

The assessment said 70 suspected terrorists have been charged before the Special Criminal Court since November 2010. None were PIRA members at the time of arrest, but 33 had past associations with the organisation, it states.

Ms O’Sullivan said a second legacy related to crime: “Secondly, and separately, a significant number of persons who have been associated with PIRA are involved, for personal gain, in organised crime, make full use of the reputations which they acquired as members of the PIRA, and do not hesitate to use their previous terrorist tactics.”

The Garda assessment said that some of these people “continue to associate together”. It said some had access to weaponry, but that it was “not in position” to call into question the findings of independent bodies regarding PIRA decommissioning.

The report said since the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau in 1996 a total of €28m has been paid to the exchequer from Proceeds of Crime actions and tax assessments in respect of more than 50 people who had connections or associations with PIRA in the past.

It said some investigations were continuing.

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