Sinn Fein ‘only organisation involved in republican struggle’ - McGuinness

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, speaking in Stormont.
Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, speaking in Stormont.

Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, has stated that Sinn Fein is the “only organisation involved in the republican struggle”.

Mr McGuinness addressed the media at Stormont after an official assessment of paramilitary activity in the North of Ireland was published on Wednesday.

The report was carried out after DUP Executive Ministers withdrew from Stormont in light of a PSNI investigation into the murder of ex-PIRA prisoner, Kevin McGuigan, in August.

The report was compiled by the PSNI and the security service and was reviewed by former senior Stormont civil servant Rosalie Flanagan; Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile of Berriew; and Belfast barrister Stephen Shaw QC.

The report stated that the Provisional IRA still exist but in a “much reduced form”.

“First and foremost, the murders of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan are personal tragedies for the families involved and we should be mindful of their grief,” said Mr. McGuinness.

“It is a matter of historical fact that the IRA instructed its members in 2005: ‘to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means’ and ‘not engage in any other activities whatsoever’.

“It is clear the IRA leadership has successfully delivered on this transition from conflict to peace.

“Let me be absolutely clear and unequivocal. Sinn Féin is now the only organisation involved in the republican struggle and in Republican activism.”

Mr. McGuinness set out Sinn Fein’s plans going forward and how they plan to work with all over the parties in the power sharing executive.

Ex-PIRA prisoner, Kevin McGuigan, was murdered in Belfast in August.

Ex-PIRA prisoner, Kevin McGuigan, was murdered in Belfast in August.

“Republicans who support the Good Friday Agreement support the political institutions, support the peace process and don’t represent a threat to anyone in the community.

“There are of course enormous and urgent issues to be dealt with around the existence of armed groups, paramilitaries and criminality.

“We all have a responsibility to deal with these issues to tackle criminality and bring paramilitarism to an end and Sinn Féin will play a full part in this important work.

“We now need to get on with the pressing issues facing the community and the economy; Tory cuts to essential public services and attacks on working families and those on welfare and dealing with the legacy of the past.

“We will work positively and constructively with all the political parties and the two governments to achieve all of this,” he said.

Detectives investigating the murder of Kevin McGuigan arrested a 47 year-old man Belfast hours before the report was published.