Weapons find raises questions over PIRA decommissioning

IRA gunman
IRA gunman

Fresh concerns about Provisional IRA weapons’ decommissioning have been raised following a major arms find in Co Monaghan.

The haul – including mortar type devices and AK47 rifles – was discovered in the Scotstown area on Tuesday.

Republican sources quoted in Wednesday’s Irish News said the weaponry originally belonged to PIRA but had been seized by members of the breakaway Real IRA before decommissioning.

In 2012, that dissident grouping then merged with Republican Action Against Drugs and independent republicans from Fermanagh and Tyrone to form the group calling itself the ‘IRA’.

The report claimed the various factions had pooled resources and hidden the large arsenal before the Provos decommissioned in 2005.

Hardline republicans in south Armagh are also reported to have retained weaponry.

Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United described news of the discovery as “worrying” and raises the question: “Were these armaments supposed to have been within PIRA’s ‘full decommissioning cache’ or is this new material which has been imported in over more recent times? We publicly request that this question be answered by the authorities.”

Mr Donaldson added: “Are the Republic of Ireland authorities prepared to share the results of ballistic tests on the weapons with the PSNI to establish what incidents (if any) these weapons were used in historically to identify if they were PIRA munitions?”