Police in Ireland are set to investigate new evidence relating to the Provisional Irish Republican Army, also known as the IRA, a paramilitary group seeking to remove Northern Ireland from the U.K. that was believed to be defunct, the Belfast Telegraph reported. A "fresh assessment" of the IRA is needed after the Police Service of Northern Ireland remarked that the group still exists, Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald told Nóirín O'Sullivan, commissioner of Ireland’s police force Garda Síochána.
Former IRA member Kevin McGuigan was killed about two weeks ago by individual members of the IRA, raising concerns the organization was still active, the Guardian reported. The organization announced in 2005 it was disbanding all its military structures, which made many think the IRA was no more.
"Recent developments are of considerable concern, but what we need to do now is establish all the current facts and that is what is happening in the rigorous investigation being carried out by the PSNI," Fitzgerald told the Belfast Telegraph.
The current assessment of the IRA is that it's a political organization without a military structure that is not involved in illegal activity as an organization, Fitzgerald said, the Belfast Telegraph reported. But some IRA members are involved in illegal activity for personal gain, according to the assessment.
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Some leaders have said the IRA does not exist anymore. Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin, an Irish republican party, told the BBC that because the republican movement is now committed to peace, armed groups like the IRA don’t need to exist.
News of the IRA's current existence in some capacity does not come as a surprise to the government, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has said, the BBC reported.
Joan Burton, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, told the Belfast Telegraph she believed the organization continues in some capacity, and that the supposed existence of the IRA is deeply worrying.