International Monitoring Commission found IRA ‘out of business’

However, report claimed some members involved in criminal activity for ‘personal gain’

The international body set up to monitor paramilitary activity in the North stated in its final report in 2011 that the IRA had “gone out of business as a paramilitary group” .

The Independent Monitoring Commission’s report said while some individual members were involved in criminal activity for personal gain, it believed the organisation was being allowed to “wither away”.

The findings contrast with the latest assessment by PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton that “some Provisional IRA organisational infrastructure continues to exist”.

He was speaking last weekend, after the killing in Belfast of former IRA member Kevin McGuigan.

The commission’s final report built on a more detailed assessment of the IRA’s activity in November 2009, in which the commission believed the IRA was on an exclusively political path.

Acting without sanction While some former members were engaged in violence or other crime, it believed these individuals were acting without sanction or support, and any financial gain was personal.

The IMC’s report concluded that the IRA’s so-called military departments had been disbanded and its former terrorist capability had been lost. In addition, its army council was by conscious decision being allowed to fall into disuse.

“PIRA [the Provisional IRA] had in these ways completely relinquished the leadership and other structures appropriate to a time of conflict,” it found.

While a small number of former IRA members had given assistance to dissident republicans, it said this was not surprising following the dissolution of organisation’s structures.

On the issue of leadership, it found that in addition to “maintaining its clear stance against all forms of terrorist activity and involvement of members in crime”, the leadership continued in more specific ways to demonstrate its commitment to peaceful means.

Condemned

It noted that the IRA leadership had condemned the dissident republican attacks in March of that year and encouraged people to support the police in the apprehension of the perpetrators.

“In the light of this we conclude, as we did six months ago, that PIRA has maintained its political course,” the IMC’s 2009 report states. “We believe it will continue to do so.”

The IMC was set up by the British and Irish governments in January 2004.

Its objective was to “carry out its functions . . . with a view to promoting the transition to a peaceful society and stable and inclusive devolved government in Northern Ireland”.

Its members were Joe Brosnan, retired secretary general of the Department of Justice; Lord Alderdice, former leader of the Alliance Party; John Grieve, former UK police officer; and Dick Kerr, former deputy director of the CIA.

The commission was dissolved on March 31st, 2011.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent