The Northern Ireland power sharing government faces a major crisis after allegations from a senior PSNI officer that some Provisional IRA members were involved in the alleged revenge killing of Kevin McGuigan in east Belfast.
McGuigan, 53, was gunned down outside his home in the Short Strand area on Wednesday August 12.
His death was said to be retaliation for the earlier murder of a leading IRA figure Jock Davidson in an internal Republican feud. A senior PSNI officer leading the investigation into the killing of Kevin McGuigan has linked his death to the Provisional IRA.
Detective superintendent Kevin Geddes stated: “A main line of inquiry in this investigation is that Kevin McGuigan was murdered by individuals seeking revenge for the murder of Jock Davison in May. Part of this main line of inquiry is that a group which calls itself Action Against Drugs (AAD) was closely involved in the murder.
“On 6th August, AAD stated that it intended to ‘execute’ the killer or killers of Jock Davison. Our assessment is that AAD is a group of individuals from a variety of backgrounds – some criminals, some violent dissident republicans and some former members of the Provisional IRA – who have formed into a dangerous, possibly murderous, grouping in order to pursue their own criminal agenda.
“It is also our assessment that some members and associates of AAD are, or were, members of the Provisional IRA. One of our major lines of inquiry is that members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder.”
First Minister Peter Robinson stated that his party, the DUP, would hold talks about continuing in government with Sinn Féin adding, “before the return of the Assembly from recess we will seek a further update from the chief constable to establish his conclusion regarding those responsible and the role of those in republican movement who are associated with Sinn Féin.”
A DUP refusal to serve with Sinn Féin would bring down the government.
However, Sinn Féin senior figure Gerry Kelly stated that both killings were “absolutely wrong” and denied any IRA involvement, saying there were “no republicans involved in these killings”.
“If it was the AAD, I am telling you it was a criminal gang,” he said. “Anyone that has any information about either of these killings needs to bring it forward. Whoever is involved in these killings needs taken off the streets and the bereaved families need to bring some sort of closure, both bereaved families.”
He said the “IRA has gone. It has left the stage.”