Minister’s smears are ‘breaching code of conduct’

Sinn Féin has accused Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald of abusing her position and breaching “the code of conduct for office holders” by making “smears of illegality” over the escalating provisional IRA criminality allegations.

Minister’s smears are ‘breaching code of conduct’

The party made the claim after the Fine Gael cabinet member announced a fresh review of the outlawed paramilitary group, which was officially disbanded a decade ago.

In a statement on behalf of his party amid growing calls for Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams to cut his holidays short to face questions over the scandal, backbench TD Brian Stanley said the justice minister has “abused her position” by taking part in a “silly season” political attack over two murders.

“Unlike other parties our accounts are available publicly and are fully legally compliant. If the minister has any information or suspicion of illegal activity, it is her duty to bring it to the gardaí instead of casting political smears,” Mr Stanley said.

Speaking earlier, Mr Stanley said he believes the International Monitoring Commission that all provisional IRA weapons underwent “verifiable destruction” in 2005. However, he said he disagreed with the same group’s assessment that elements had moved to criminality.

He denied his party has no credibility on the issue after the then-US envoy to Northern Ireland’s peace process, Mitchell Reiss, and former justice minister, Michael McDowell, said Mr Adams wanted some arms retained for protection purposes, a claim Sinn Féin said was “rubbish”.

Asked why Mr Adams attended a hunger strike event in Dundalk last Sunday but is not facing questions over the criminality scandal, Mr Stanley added: “I’m here. If there’s people on holidays, they’re on holidays.”

Tánaiste Joan Burton had earlier said the claim the provisional IRA has completely disbanded “leaves the question of where do they go?”.

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