They Had Never Gone Away

Pete Trumbore ventures the view that the Provisional IRA had never gone away. Professor Peter Trumbore blogs @ Observations / Research / Diversions.

Four sets of quotes spanning 16 years on the Provisional IRA and its ceasefire. In each case emphasis has been added by me.

After the July 1999 murder of Belfast taxi driver and low-level police informer Charles Bennett:
The official response to his murder, delivered on Thursday by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, has thrown a shadow over the peace process. Almost in the same breath, she declared that “there is no doubt that the IRA were involved in the Bennett murder” and that there is “not a sufficient basis to conclude that the IRA ceasefire has broken down.

The ceasefire relates to attacks against the British state, but the IRA retains the right to deal with matters in its own community
, said a republican source. “That includes taking action against informers, carrying out `punishment’ attacks, and `policing’ dissidents if need be.” — (Irish Times)

At the sentencing in 2010 of Harry Fitzsimmons, convicted of the 2004 abduction of dissident Bobby Tohill from Kelly’s Cellars pub in Belfast City Centre:

Belfast Crown Court was told the attack in February 2004 was meant as a message to Tohill not to oppose the then fledgling peace process.

Jailing Fitzsimmons for what he described as a violent preplanned attack, Belfast Crown Court judge Lord Justice Girvan said it was “ironic” the Provisionals should, in the so-called interests of peace, use violence and intimidation to secure their ends. — (BBC)

In response to reported threats against the life of senior Belfast Republican Seamus Finucane by the armed dissident group Oglaigh na hEireann:

All sorts of thin lines were being walked. One source, commenting on the likely implications of any attack on Seamus Finucane, or any other mainstream republican figure, commented: “They [the dissidents] would be swatted like flies.” And that comment tells you that the IRA could be resurrected. … What would happen if they attacked a senior republican? They know the answer to that question. “The gear [guns] would be out,” one of them told me. — (Belfast Telegraph)

After the murder two weeks ago of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan in apparent retaliation for the May killing of former senior IRA member Gerard Davison:
One of our major lines of enquiry is that members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder. I have no information to say at this stage whether this was sanctioned at a command level or not and I am not prepared to speculate about that. — (PSNI Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes)

Individual members cooperated in shooting dead Kevin McGuigan in East Belfast but organisational structures have brought members of the outlawed organisation along the path of peace, Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable George Hamilton said.

Mr Hamilton said: “They are not on a war footing, they are not involved in paramilitary activity in the sense that they were during part of the conflict.” — (RTE News)

Reacting to Mr Hamilton’s view, [Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa] Villiers said: “It didn’t come as a surprise to me. My understanding is, very much in line with that of the chief constable, that a number of the organisational structures of the Provisional IRA still exist but that there is no evidence it’s involved in terrorism or paramilitary activity.” — (Belfast Telegraph)

But if you listened to Bobby Storey back in June 2014, you knew all this already.

We have a message for the British Government, for the Irish Government, for the cabal that is out there: we haven’t gone away, you know. — (Belfast Telegraph)


  1. Searching out the Tohill incident (which I wasnt aware of) :

    the notion that the organisation (the Provisional IRA) does nothing other than exist is the belief of the unwary and naive... Sinn Fein have disputed claims that the IRA was involved.... The problem for the Provisionals is that their accounts are finding few takers. And in the media world Sinn Fein spokespeople are allowing themselves to be depicted as possessing all the credibility of Iraq's Comical Ali.

    This could of been written a few weeks ago.

  2. The Queen's Own Shinner Gerry McCartney popped up today on BBC Radio Ulster to tell the Idiotic that the (P)IRA no longer exists.

    What evidence does Gerry give for the (P)IRA no longer existing?

    'We only have the Chief Constables assessment. Nobody was charged never mind found guilty.'

    'The evidence that they don't exist is there for everyone who wants to go and look for it. If you go to the streets of The Bogside, of Creggan, of the Falls Road, of Andytown and ask people, over the last number of years, when they approached people who they thought were members of the IRA day'day'do whatever, they were told very clearly to go to the PSNI, that the IRA was away...' Ranted Gerry.

    They were likely in Columbia or Portugal or elsewhere at the time but as Gerry claims they do not exist. As an army that is. If their purpose is solely to kill people then they are a Death Squad.

    Death squad - a clandestine military or paramilitary team who murder political dissidents or petty criminals (usually with the government's tacit approval)

  3. I heard that call aswell on Talkback..

    William Crawley was talking to Eamonn Mallie and Sam McBride on his show scroll until 7min 30 seconds for the start of the show.

    The call Dixie refers too...scroll until 27mins 38seconds..

  4. Vol Joe O Connor didnt commit suicide ..the chucks would not be so fucking arrogant if their teeth so to speak had been pulled.