Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams today rejected claims made by an anti-Agreement unionist naming those alleged to be leading members of the Provisional IRA.
He said the move by DUP Stormont Assembly member Peter Robinson in identifying those he said sat on the group’s seven-strong Army Council was part of an internal battle within unionism.
Mr Robinson told the assembly yesterday that he had seen a document listing the present make-up of the council and that it included Mr Adams and Northern Ireland education minister Martin McGuinness.
Mr Robinson said: ‘‘It indicates that the Chief of Staff is Thomas Murphy, the Assistant Chief is Brian Keenan.
‘‘The other members are Martin McGuinness, Gerard Adams, Martin Ferris, Patrick Doherty and Brian Gillen.’’
He also named nine others he claimed were headquarters staff, adding: ‘‘These are the people who are in charge of the Provisional IRA today.’’
Mr Adams, in Dublin to launch his party’s campaign in opposition to the Nice Treaty, said: ‘‘Ian Paisley made exactly the same claims a month or so ago.
‘‘I said to Ian Paisley that I have to accept that you have a mandate. I have to respect that. I have to work with you.
‘‘It is important that there are frank exchanges but I obviously reject the assertion that Peter Robinson made about IRA membership.’’