Armed IRA believes it controls Sinn Fein

An IRA gunman
An IRA gunman
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The IRA did not decommission all of its weapons, the terror group’s Army Council remains and its members believe the IRA effectively controls Sinn Fein, it has been revealed.

Far from being the bland report many had expected, yesterday’s Government assessment of the IRA contained a surprisingly candid level of detail about the deep and enduring links between Sinn Fein and the IRA.

Yet just an hour after the report had been published the DUP released a detailed statement which made clear that the party would return to the Executive as a result of what the report had said.

At tea time yesterday all of the DUP’s ministers ended their ‘in-out’ protest related to the murder of Kevin McGuigan and returned to office.

Peter Robinson last night defended the decision and insisted that he had never had any illusions about the continued existence of the IRA Army Council.

He told the BBC: “It really is a distinction without a difference to say there’s something special about the Army Council being involved.”

Yet in 2007, his DUP colleague William McCrea said: “Let there be no doubt whatsoever — the Army Council has to go.”

And in 2010, Sammy Wilson said that there had been “total decommissioning” by the IRA.

What today’s report tells us about paramilitary groups
The full report can be read here
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IRA presence ‘vindicates power-sharing exit’, says UUP