PSNI accused of new political intervention
PSNI accused of new political intervention

A senior PSNI police chief has controversially claimed that the Provisional IRA continues to engage in activity.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid gave his assessment at a behind-closed-doors meeting to members of the Policing Board in Belfast.

An official report on IRA activity, prepared from police and military intelligence briefings and due later this month, is still expected to substantially confirm that the IRA has fulfilled the commitments it made last year to disarm and end its activities.

A positive report by the IMC body would inject badly needed confidence into a new round of talks, due to get underway next month. The talks seek to salvage the substance of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, including the revival of the North’s troubled political institutions.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on policing Gerry Kelly dismissed the claim as a “political intervention” and said the the Irish and British governments needed to uphold the democratic rights of citizens and see off “dissidents” like Sam Kinkaid.

At the meeting, Kincaid said there had been no robberies or “terrorist activity” by the IRA since last year’s announcement that it had called a permanent halt to its activities.

But Mr Kinkaid said that “all sides” - including the IRA - were still involved in “organised crime”.

The meeting was also attended by Alan McQuillan, the deputy director of the Assets Recovery Agency, and British Minister Shaun Woodward. Both Kincaid and McQuillan have been accused by republicans of deliberately undermining the peace process with their actions.

Kincaid’s ‘confidential briefing’ contrasts sharply with the statements of Minister Woodward, who recently said the IRA was no longer involved in organised crime.

Gerry Kelly said Kincaid’s comments were “a blatant example of political policing” and the latest in a series of serious efforts by anti-republican elements inside the PSNI to prevent progress in the political process.

At the weekend, Kelly signalled that Sinn Féin could be ready to finally endorse the PSNI and join the Policing Board if new legislation expected next month contains further reforms. But he warned that there was still considerable opposition to change within the PSNI.

“Sam Kincaid is a political detective. He is part of the RUC old guard and is expected to leave the PSNI in the coming weeks,” he said.

“It is no accident that his comments are made at this time just two weeks in advance of an expected report from the IMC. This is a last ditch effort from securocrats who have opposed political and policing change since the start of this process.

“These spurious allegations will no doubt be seized upon by the DUP and others who have set their face against the democratic rights of citizens. The Irish and British governments need to uphold those rights and to see off dissidents, like Sam Kinkaid.”

Indeed, Ian Paisley jnr, the Democratic Unionist Party security spokesman and also a member of the Policing Board, immediately called for Minister Woodward’s resignation.

“The information which Shaun Woodward received was exactly the same as the Policing Board and from the same source yet the interpretation he has put on it is completely and unjustifiably different.”

Mr Paisley added: “When you have no confidence in a person’s judgment there is only one place for them to go and that is away from here.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News