Irish Republican News · July 1, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Kenny accepts army council disbandment

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has said he accepts the Provisional IRA and its army council “are no more”.

His comments follow remarks he made 10 days ago in Belfast when he said he would not sit in government with Sinn Fein partly because the Provisional IRA army council had not been stood down. The Independent Monitoring Commission reported in 2008 that the Provisional army council was “no longer operational or functional”.

In the Dublin parliament on Wednesday during a debate on the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Mr Kenny said he had had a difficulty with Sinn Fein for many years “on the issue of the army council of the IRA. In my presence, following questions, both the president of Sinn Fein Gerry Adams and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness confirmed that from every perspective they could see, the IRA and its army council are no more. I accept the Deputy First Minister’s statement in that regard”.

Mr Kenny said he would be writing to Mr McGuinness “in due course about several other matters”.

The development was generally welcomed by northern nationalists, who saw it as Fine Gael finally “catching up” on the peace process “learning curve”. It is thought the move coud also pave the way for the two parties to end their blanket opposition to a coalition government in Dublin.

Meanwhile, Kenny has announced the make-up of his new front bench today following last month’s failed attempt by senior party members to replace him.

His decision to reappoint several internal opponents to prominent roles provoked some surprise this afternoon and was being seen as a reflection of the low skill levels among the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

Former Finance spokesman and defeated leadership challenger, Richard Bruton, returns to the front bench, in enterprise, jobs and economic planning.

His role is being taken up by Michael Noonan, the former party leader who was forced to resign after support for Fine Gael collapsed in the general election of 2001.

The others who have survived the heave attempt are Charlie Flanagan, Fergus O’Dowd, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney.

The other new faces to the Shadow Cabinet are Deirdre Clune, Catherine Byrne, Frank Feighan, John Perry, Sean Barratt and Andrew Doyle.

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