Adams: IRA not involved in killing of Kevin McGuigan

Party leader says no action is warranted against Sinn Féin in Assembly

 Gerry Adams: IRA were not involved in the killing of Kevin McGuigan in east Belfast, Sinn Féin leader says. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Gerry Adams: IRA were not involved in the killing of Kevin McGuigan in east Belfast, Sinn Féin leader says. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said last night that the IRA were not involved in the “brutal murder” of Kevin McGuigan in east Belfast earlier this month.

In his first comments since the PSNI linked the killing of Mr McGuigan to the Provisional IRA, Mr Adams criticised those who have “opportunistically and cynically seized on the killing of Kevin McGuigan in a deliberate effort to undermine Sinn Féin’s mandate . . . and the peace process”.

Mr Adams said those involved “are criminals who do not represent republicanism”.

“The IRA were not involved,” Mr Adams , who is on holidays, said in the statement.

Echoing earlier comments by Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, Mr Adams said the IRA left the stage in 2005 and urged “anyone with information on this brutal murder” to give it to the PSNI.

Mr Kelly is due to meet the PSNI this morning about the latest developments in the investigation into Mr McGuigan’s killing. The DUP is also due to meet the PSNI today.

Mr McGuigan, a father of nine, was shot dead on August 12th outside his Comber Court home in the Short Strand area of east Belfast, in what is believed to have been retaliation for the murder of Gerard “Jock” Davison in May.

In his statement, Mr Adams added that anyone threatening to take action against Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Assembly had “no basis” for doing so.

This comes after DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson said he would be holding talks with Stormont parties about the possible exclusion of Sinn Féin from the mandatory five-party administration.

Det Supt Kevin Geddes, the senior PSNI officer investigating Mr McGuigan’s murder, said on Thursday that a definite line of inquiry in the investigation was that members of the Provisional IRA were involved in Mr McGuigan’s killing.

Earlier yesterday, Alliance Minister for Justice David Ford said there were “major concerns if there is currently an active Provisional IRA”.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers described the latest developments as “serious”. Through Twitter, Ms Villiers said: “It is vital that the police are able to get on and pursue their lines of enquiry. I urge anyone with information to contact the police in confidence.”

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds emphasised that there was “no place in government” for any party that had involvement in violence. “We want maximum clarity about who was responsible for this carefully planned and cold-blooded murder,” Mr Dodds said. “Whilst Gerry Kelly has been quick with denials of PIRA involvement, we remember similar comments about the Northern Bank robbery,” he said.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald yesterday said “speculation” about the killing, which she said “must be condemned by all right-thinking people” , was unhelpful.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins said the comments by the PSNI on the Provisional IRA point “to a general acceptance among the PSNI that the command structure of the Provisional movement is still in place”.

“Sinn Féin condemnations are unreliable, and again today we see senior Sinn Féin representatives immediately move to question the professionalism of the senior investigating officer who gave his assessment of the investigation.

A 60-year-old man arrested yesterday by detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the killing was last night released unconditionally.

The PSNI believes Action Against Drugs (AAD) was closely involved in the killing. They believe some members of the group are, or were, members of the Provisional IRA.

Full statement by Gerry Adams:

“The killing of Kevin McGuigan was wrong and those who were involved in it are criminals who do not represent republicanism. The so-called group Action against Drugs is a criminal gang. It is a mix of criminals and former republicans who have engaged in intimidation and violence in pursuit of their criminal ends.

“My thoughts are with the McGuigan family. Anyone with any information on this brutal murder should bring it forward to the PSNI.

“So too should anyone with information on the killing of Jock Davison.

“There has been a lot of speculation and media spin about whether the IRA was involved in the killing of Kevin McGuigan.

“The IRA was not involved.

“In July 2005 the IRA left the stage. Its leadership ordered an end to the armed campaign; its representatives to ‘engage with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use’ and instructed its volunteers to take part only in ‘purely political and democratic programmes’ and no ‘other activities whatsoever’.

“All of this was done as part of a genuine initiative to build a just and lasting peace and in support of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Those who threaten to take action against Sinn Féin in the Assembly and Executive have no basis whatsoever for this. Sinn Féin’s mandate and the rights and entitlements of our electorate deserve exactly the same respect and protection as anyone else’s’.

“The events surrounding the murders of Jock Davison and Kevin McGuigan and their investigation are matters for the PSNI.”