Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson Stephen Farry, responding to the latest IRA statement denouncing individual ‘criminality’ activity, has challenged the organisation to address illegal actions for the benefit of the wider Republican Movement and said other parties should reserve judgement to the IMC.
Dr Farry said: “While it is helpful that the IRA are prepared to address the criminality issues, this statement only denounces those maverick republicans who are involved in criminal activity for self-gain. It does not indicate whether or not criminal activity for the purpose of the serving the IRA as an organisation must cease, or indeed whether Republicans now accept that criminal activity for the purposes of the advancement of their cause is illegal.
“The last Independent Monitoring Commission Report, while noting that the IRA were winding up some of their criminal interests, did observe that the IRA was still associated with organised crime. The praise given to Slab Murphy by leading members of Sinn Fein hardly builds confidence.
“Organised crime is a major problem for the Northern Ireland economy, and is a much bigger problem that the activities of isolated Republicans.
“It is irresponsible for other parties to ‘welcome’ such statements without due regard to what they really mean. Political judgements must wait for IMC reports.”