Former Irish Times journalist Ed Moloney, considered an expert on the Irish Republican Army (IRA), is claiming the British Government has “done a deal” in return for not attacking security forces, the IRA has been given the green light to continue to engage in criminal activities and support the Sinn Fein .
Sinn Féin, although not outlawed, refuses to reject the use of political violence to meet its objectives.
Maloney, who now resides in New York, says a Government report released this week on the current status of paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland shows that there still exists “basically the old Provisional IRA structure, albeit somewhat reduced: a chief of staff, an army council, brigades and departments”.
He says “When one reads this document, it is difficult not to come to this conclusion: The British state has done a deal with the Provisional leadership in which an armed and organised IRA rump continues to exist to protect its leadership cadre, eradicate opponents and further the political ambitions, North and South, of the IRA’s political wing, and as long as no hostility or violence is shown to the British state then a blind eye will be turned even to murder,"
The paramilitary status report was commissioned by the British Government’s Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers and compiled by retired senior Northern Ireland civil servant Rosalie Flanagan, British Liberal Democrat peer Lord Carlile, and lawyer Stephen Shaw.
The seven-page report was based on information supplied by the Police Service of Northern Ireland; Britain's secret service, MI5; and An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s National Police Service.
The report says that all of the paramilitary groups operating during the Northern Ireland crisis, still “remain features of life in Northern Ireland”. However it concluded that the most serious current terrorist threat is from dissident republicans, mainly the Provisional Irish Republican Army.