Following a recent Sunday Independent article on illegal cigarettes in which Independent journalist Jim Cusack claimed that this illegal trade has become “one of the IRAs main sources of income, along with fuel laundering” and that it still retains its military structure, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD wrote to the Garda Commissioner.
In a letter received this morning from the Commissioner’s Private Secretary on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, it states; “An Garda Síochána hold no information or intelligence to support the assertion of Mr. Cusack that ‘the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette-smuggling and counterfeiting.”
The letter goes on to confirm that the Independent Monitoring Commission in 2009 confirmed that the IRA structures were disbanded, that some former members were engaged in crime for personal gain but without sanction or support; and this was based on briefings from An Garda Síochána, the PSNI, and UK police and security agencies in the UK and America.
Sinn Féin leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams said:
“There have been ongoing efforts by some journalists and political leaders to demonise border communities in North Louth, South Down and South Armagh.”
“They have also sought to blame republicans on criminal activities which Sinn Féin has stood firmly against. The letter from the Commissioner disproves these spurious claims. Sinn Féin is working with the Garda and PSNI against criminality of all kinds.”
Teachta Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said:
“The letter from the Garda Commissioner contradicts the claims of the small number of journalists who have pedaled bogus accusations about republicans. It is a clear rejection of other allegations, including the disgraceful claim that republicans were poisoning the water system for Dundalk.”