People linked with the Provisional IRA are still involved in criminality in the Republic but not on the same scale as in Northern Ireland, Garda sources have said.
The Garda Síochána’s belief is that the IRA no longer exists “as a body” but individuals or small groups linked to the Provisionals are involved in criminal activity such as fuel laundering.
Sources said it could be the case criminality and fundraising are either organised on a structural level or that they may be carried out by individuals or groups of people associated with the IRA.
However, the Garda source claimed there is "a significant difference in the level of criminal activity" in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The source also said Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan's refusal at the Oireachtas justice committee earlier this year to say the IRA was no longer operating in Ireland was "an extension" of a position outlined in a letter sent to Sinn Féin justice spokesman Padraig Mac Lochlainn.
The letter, sent in February, said: “An Garda Siochána hold no information or intelligence to support the assertion … that ‘the Provisional IRA still maintains its military structure and confines its criminal activities to fuel laundering, cigarette-smuggling and counterfeiting’.”
The letter from Ms O'Sullivan's office to Mr MacLochlainn also cited a 2009 report from the Independent Monitoring Commission (lMC) which said military departments and other structures of the Provisional IRA had been disbanded and its former terrorist capability lost.
The IMC report also said “some former members engaged in crime for personal gain but without sanction or support” but that the IRA maintained a “clear stance against all terrorist activity”. A Garda source said correspondence between the commissioner’s office and TDs such as Mr Mac Lochlainn is commonplace.
Ms O'Sullivan was queried on the letter by Independent Limerick Senator James Heffernan at a meeting of the justice committee meeting in March.
“Can she tell me whether she fully sanctioned the letter?” Mr Heffernan asked.
Ms O’Sullivan replied: “I am very much aware that there are a number of individuals, both acting individually and acting in consort, involved in organised crime in a number of the areas mentioned by the Senator.”