08 March 2006

Provisional IRA 'no longer terrorist threat' - IMC

Breaking News.ie

08/03/2006 - 11:27:33

The Provisional IRA has taken a strategic decision to follow a political path and does not present a terrorist threat, the latest report from the Independent Monitoring Commission said today.

“The IRA leadership has given instructions that the membership of the PIRA should not engage in public disorder,” it said in a report on security normalisation.

Any illegal activity which may be engaged in by the organisation or its members was mainly of a kind to be addressed by the police without the need for military assistance, it added.

But the report said dissident republicans continued to pose a threat to the security forces and aspired to mount attacks on them and the public and trained and acquired equipment to that end.

The IMC said the dissidents’ capacity to mount a sustained campaign was limited, but they were “prepared to resort to extreme violence”.

Their threat was higher in certain places, of which South Armagh was the most obvious, and they were heavily engaged in organised crime.

Loyalist paramilitaries, said the report, were heavily involved in organised and other crime, including drugs.

They had shown themselves capable of extreme violence, but the IMC said it did not think they presented a continuing threat to the security forces akin to that of the dissident republicans.

None of the loyalist groups have taken a strategic decisions similar to that of the IRA.

But the IMC said: “We believe there are signs of a possible readiness to turn away from some of their present criminality.”

It added: “It is impossible to say at this stage how far, if at all, these signs will develop into any real changes of behaviour.”

The report is the ninth presented to the British government by the IMC but its first on the security normalisation programme set in motion by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain last August.

It was received by the British government from the IMC last week and published today as Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern met in London to review their plan for revising devolution in Northern Ireland.

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