Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD has responded to the PSNI Chief Constable’s confirmation that the Provisional IRA is still in existence and continues to maintain a command structure.

Deputy Martin commented, “The Chief Constable has confirmed the truth of what Fianna Fáil has believed for some time, that the Provisional IRA and its command structure continues in place to this day. He also confirmed that its focus is now primarily political.

“The Chief Constable’s comments will have sent a chill down the spine of very many Irish citizens.

“This is an exceptionally serious moment. A peace process that is the product of decades of hard work by very many people on all sides of the political spectrum has been put at risk by the dishonesty of the Provisional Sinn Féin and IRA leadership.

“Gerry Adams attacked me when I voiced fears about the role of the PIRA in deciding Sinn Féin strategy and policy earlier this year. He dismissed my claims and made personal attacks in what is now a well worn routine. At the weekend, he attempted to begin the same process with the Chief Constable, dismissing his claims and thereby challenging his professionalism and integrity.

“Deputy Adams is essentially asking the Irish people to trust his word, over the word of the most senior PSNI officers in the North.  When people look back over his record of comments about the PIRA, its involvement in various crimes, and his association with that organization, they are unlikely to oblige.

“While I fully understand the sensitivities involved and the Government’s reticence to say or do anything that might further jeopardise the institutions in Northern Ireland, continued silence from the Taoiseach is not sustainable. Fianna Fáil is proposing urgent bilateral meetings between the Irish and British Governments and between the Garda Commissioner and PSNI Chief Constable.  This crisis needs leadership and it needs honesty.

“Sinn Féin representatives continue to attack everyone who questions them and labels them as anti-peace process.  This is dangerous and disingenuous rhetoric.  Sinn Féin does not have sole ownership of the process and through its behaviour is causing more damage to the process than any of those it has been attacking.”