DUP demands action over IRA 'hit list' discovery

 

The DUP has demanded the British government take immediate action against Sinn Féin following the discovery of a Provisional IRA "hit list".

Around 200 people, including police officers, members of the British army, judges, politicians, loyalists, and forensic scientists, have been warned of a potential security risk. The list was discovered on a computer seized in police raids in nationalist areas following the Castlereagh break-in at March.

DUP Assembly member Mr Sammy Wilson demanded that Mr Tony Blair take action.

"We were told that should a scenario like this occur that action would be taken. The Prime Minister promised that he would not allow people to stay in government if they were linked to an organisation which is carrying out a campaign of terror.

"He promised that if people did misbehave when they came out of prison under licence, they would be put back in prison. This is one in a long line of sins now put at the door of the IRA."

Mr Wilson said the situation also demanded a response from the pro-agreement parties.

The president of Sinn Féin, Mr Gerry Adams, yesterday said the Provisional IRA remained on ceasefire and was committed to the peace process. Speaking at the launch of a book commemorating republicans killed during the conflict, he criticised "repackaged stories" from the media, stories he found "bewildering".

"It is my firm view that the IRA remains disciplined, remains on cessation and remains committed to the peace process," he said.

"This is at a time when all the loyalist organisations are off their cessations - all of them are off their cessations." He claimed the hit list allegations were aimed at "trying to kill the peace process".

Several weeks ago, detectives discovered a list of senior British Conservative politicians on the same computer. A deeper examination of the computer's memory disk uncovered a list of more than 200 names of judges, police officers, British army personnel, forensic scientists, loyalists and judges.

The information was collected over a lengthy period. Much of it was old but some had been updated. The retirement date of one of the North's most senior detectives was logged.

DUP MP Mr Nigel Dodds said the Ulster Unionists must "own up to their responsibilities". He said: "They can try to pass the blame onto others but they cannot rewrite the fact they allowed Sinn Féin/IRA into government and the prisoners to walk free before a single weapon was handed over.

"If Tony Blair is to be convicted on a charge of placing terrorists in government, then the UUP are his co-accused. The people of Northern Ireland will have the chance to give their verdict when the Assembly election is called."

Meanwhile, a meeting of the North/South Ministerial Council will be held in Armagh today. Members of the Cabinet and the Northern Ireland Executive will attend. The pro-agreement parties are due to hold talks with Mr Blair and the Taoiseach next week.