Sinn Féin is to take to the courts to contest fines imposed by the British government over alleged continued activity by the IRA.
Sinn Féin confirmed the move and also condemned the Independent Monitoring Commission whose report last month prompted the fines.
Last month the Independent Monitoring Commission claimed it had evidence that the IRA remained active and were involved in a variety of illegal activities. Its conclusions were derived from briefings by the PSNI police and British military intelligence.
IMC members threatened to ‘name and shame’ senior members of the party who they allege have leadership roles within the IRA.
The actions of the body, set up by the two governments outside the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, humiliated Sinn Féin and brought the peace process to its lowest point since the IRA ceasefire collapsed in 1996.
The 120,000 pound fine on Sinn Féin, the withdrawal of the annual subvention received from the British government for its participation in the Belfast Assembly at Stormont, was minor but seemed designed to embarrass the party in front of the broader nationalist community as elections approached.
Sinn Féin say their legal advisers found the decision to fine them for alleged ceasefire breaches by the IRA went against the European Convention on Human RIghts.
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was joined by party colleagues Bairbre de Brun and Conor Murphy this morning as he revealed details of the legal challenge.
“British government sanctions discriminate against our electorate,” said Mr Adams.
“The role of the IMC was to facilitate the exclusion of Sinn Féin, to soft pedal on unionist violence and to ignore totally the behaviour of the British government, the party most in breach of the Agreement.
“The IMC is not independent. That much is obvious from its remit and membership.
“The recent report from the IMC, which the British government is using as the basis to discriminate against Sinn Féin, is a proxy report by the securocrats, PSNI and British Army. The recommendations are clearly discriminatory and subvert the democratic and electoral rights and mandate of Sinn Féin and our electorate.”
“Moreover the IMC report itself acknowledges that Sinn Féin ‘is not in a position actually to determine what policies or operational strategies PIRA will adopt.’ Having admitted this and accepted that Sinn Féin has used its influence it then proceeds to recommend sanctions against us.
“We take this case not in the expectation of a British court finding against a British government in favour of Sinn Féin but we are duty bound to defend the rights and entitlements of our electorate and also to exhaust all domestic remedies in so doing.”