13 December 2005

IRA 'is not involved with crime'

BBC


The IRA announced it had decommissioned in July

The IRA is no longer involved in organised crime, Security Minister Shaun Woodward has said.

In October, a report by the Independent Monitoring Commission said signs that the IRA had ended its armed campaign "were encouraging".

Mr Woodward said he understood there would be scepticism but said the next IMC report in January would demonstrate whether the IRA was true to its word.

He said he would be looking to see what conclusions the commission came to.

Mr Woodward said the IRA had indicated in their July statement that they would be ending all criminality.

"We believe from the evidence we have seen, we believe from the reports, and critically the reports from the Independent Monitoring Commission, that the IRA is keeping to its word.

"Now of course there will be another report in January and we will be looking to see what that report says."

In its last report the IMC said it was still too early to draw firm conclusions that that IRA had ended all its activities.

However, despite this the government said it would restore Sinn Fein's assembly and Westminster allowances.

Sinn Fein assembly members and MPs had allowances suspended after the IMC accused the IRA of involvement in the robbery of £26.5m from the Northern Bank in Belfast, and other paramilitary activity.

The IMC reports on the activity of all of Northern Ireland's paramilitaries.

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