Irish Republican News · December 12, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Devolution threatened over IRA structures
Devolution threatened over IRA structures

The DUP has insisted there will be no devolution of policing and justice powers to the Six County Executive without the complete dismantling of the Provisional IRA’s structure.

Sinn Féin has warned against any “backsliding” on the devolution of policing and justice powers following Donaldson’s comments.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson warned that the organisation’s Army Council would have to be destroyed.

Mr Donaldson, speaking after meeting PSNI chief Hugh Orde, said: “We have made it absolutely clear that there is no room for private armies in a situation where you have the Assembly operating,

“It is unfinished business, it is business that needs to be finished and resolved.”

“There can be absolutely no question of the devolution of policing and justice powers to this Assembly in circumstances where we have private armies operating in any part of Northern Ireland that are committed to parties that are in governments.”

Under the St Andrews Agreement, the British and Irish governments envisaged the transfer of policing and justice powers by next May. The DUP, however, has insisted it never signed up to such an arrangement.

The continued existence of the structure of the Provisional IRA, despite the termination of its activities, has previously been identified by the Dublin and London governments as a factor helping to limit defections to breakaway groups.

Mr Donaldson claimed that Orde told them that while there was “no indication” that the recent killing of Monaghan man Paul Quinn in south Armagh was sanctioned by the IRA, there were “IRA members involved”.

“We await the outcome of the police investigation but people should be under no illusions as to the seriousness of the situation. If it is shown that the Provisional IRA authorised and executed the murder of Paul Quinn, there will be serious repercussions.”

The DUP wanted “full disclosure”, he added. “We have made it absolutely clear that there is no room for private armies in a situation where you have the Assembly operating. It is unfinished business, it is business that needs to be finished and resolved.”

Sinn Féin has blamed the Quinn murder on a dispute between rival smuggling gangs.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey said there could be no backsliding on the commitment to devolution of policing and justice powers. “There can be no more excuses. There is an overwhelming demand from the public for the transfer of powers on policing and justice to go ahead.”

* The people of Scotland have a right to self-determination in relation to the Union, Ian Paisley said today.

During questions in the Belfast Assembly, the DUP leader defended the right of the Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to work for an independent Scotland.

However he insisted he firmly supported a ‘United Kingdom’ involving Scotland.

“The First Minister of Scotland has views on the future constitutional position of Scotland and of course they are well known,” Mr Paisley told Ulster Unionist Assembly member David Burnside.

“Those are entirely matters for him and his party to take forward with the people of Scotland and they have no bearing on the future government of our country.”

© 2007 Irish Republican News