IRA Army Council ‘has disbanded’ - DUP

DUP leader Peter Robinson has said he has received direct assurances that the Provisional IRA Army Council has permanently gone out of business.

The First Minister said he had been told by “the leadership of the republican movement” that the Provisional IRA is not going to return.

Mr Robinson this week agreed a deal on devolving policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont, ending a stand-off with Sinn Fein that has blocked meetings of the Six-County Executive since June.

But the DUP leader insisted that confidence in the Executive would be further boosted if the assurances he received on the Provisional IRA were given in public.

“Right at the heart of building confidence within the community will be people’s perception of those who are in the assembly,” Mr Robinson said.

“It’s important that those who are in the leadership of the republican movement make it very clear publicly, as they have done to us privately, that the IRA is out of business for good and is not going to return.”

The DUP leader told BBC Radio: “People have to be convinced and it’s not just somebody saying it, all the actions have to be there as well.”

Ultra-hardline unionist Jim Allister of Traditional Unionist Voice accused his former colleagues in the DUP of dropping its pledge that policing and justice would not be devolved while the Provisional Army Council is still functioning.

“How pitiful that the DUP leader has been reduced to peddling republican-friendly spin,” he said.

“Even Chamberlain had a piece of paper, all Peter has are ‘private assurances’ from the republican leadership.”

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