17 January 2006

IRA 'is still involved in crime'

BBC


Policing Board members were told IRA still involved in organised crime

The BBC understands that the PSNI's most senior detective has told Policing Board members that the IRA is still involved in organised crime.

The comments came in a private briefing to the board on Tuesday.

The assessment from the assistant chief constable in charge of crime operations Sam Kinkaid contrasts with comments from Security Minister Shaun Woodward.

Last month, Mr Woodward told the BBC that the IRA was no longer involved in criminal activity.

BBC NI political correspondent Mark Devenport said he understands Mr Woodward was present during Tuesday's briefing and said he stood by his original comments.

It is believed Mr Kincaid said there had been significant progress in terms of ending some activities on the part of the IRA, such as paramilitary attacks and armed robberies.

However, he told board members that no paramilitary group, including the IRA, has ceased involvement in organised crime.

He said the police had seen no change in this for a year.

Neither the police or the government has commented on the matter as they say it was a private briefing.

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