Republican Sinn Féin has accused the Provisional IRA of gathering intelligence on other republican groups and passing the information on to the police north and south of the border.
The latest report from the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) says that intelligence gathering by the Provisional IRA is set to continue.
This is “ not in itself improper if it does not involve illegal methods or intent”, the report adds. “We believe that it is for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of any threat from dissidents”
Des Dalton, vice-president of Republican Sinn Féin, said that the findings of the IMC report confirm what his organisation forecast would be the role of Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA. “They have become part of the apparatus of British rule in Ireland, acting as an arm of the British intelligence service”, he said.
Republicans have also been targeted by an increased number of house raids and there has been an increase of about 60% in “MI5’s covert technical operations” since last year, Dalton said.
The Chairman of Republican Sinn Féin’s Ulster Executive was arrested last week along with his brother in raids in Newry and Meigh, County Armagh. It is the second time this year the homes have been raided.
Two others were also arrested. All four who were held captive in Antrim PSNI Barracks were released late the following day, September 6.
One of the men revealed that he had been interrogated during four different sessions over nearly 30 hours of captivity. The first session focused on his work, and the second focused on how he knew the other detainees.
The PSNI claimed that the operation was “intelligence-led” and that the raids were pre-planned.
Meanwhile, republicans who took part in a protest in Derry on Saturday were told they are “living in a dangerous age” where they face arrest and imprisonment.
Ciaran Cunningham, from the Republican Network for Unity, made the comment at a protest against the ‘internment’ of four Derry republicans. The men were arrested on IRA membership charges in the 26 Counties but have now been jailed indefinitely for several months without trial.
The protest was organised by the 32-County Sovereignty Movement and was attended by representatives of the IRSP, Concerned Republicans and the Republican Network for Unity.
Francie Mackey, chairperson of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement called on all republicans who are opposed to the Sinn Féin strategy to work together.
“If we are to challenge the current position of internment by remand then republicans need to be united. The ground work for unity had already been laid. The republican movement can only be unified if the movement is open and honest. There can be no more elitest leadership; no more superficial debates. All policy must be formulated together. Republican unity is the only way forward,” he said.
Ciaran Cunningham told the crowd or around 100 people that they could face arrest for attending the demonstration.
“All of us here are living in a dangerous age. It has been 14 years since the first ceasefire and they still want to shoot us on sight. In the last ten years republican revolutionaries have been painted as heretics. Republicans have been arrested in the past and the evidence offered against them has been that they have attended a protest like this one,” he added.
* Republican militants have been linked to an attempted bomb attack in Lisburn on Tuesday, the PSNI have said.
A device was found under a car in the Ballyskeagh area of the city. A PSNI detective said the device was intended for a member of the force, but had been planted mistakenly and failed to detonate.