Direct Action Against Drugs

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25 January 1996.

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Photo of John Greenway John Greenway , Ryedale 12:00, 25 January 1996

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what additional measures are being taken in response to the recent murders attributed to the Direct Action Against Drugs organisation. [9629]

Photo of Mr John Wheeler Mr John Wheeler , Westminster North

While operational policing is a matter for the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, I can state that in mid-December last year a team of detectives, headed by a chief superintendent, was formed to investigate murders which have been claimed by a group calling itself Direct Action Against Drugs; there have been seven murders procured by the provisional IRA under that flag of convenience. The RUC team has all the resources that it requires.

Photo of John Greenway John Greenway , Ryedale

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in the light of what he has just said—and of the Mitchell Commission's recommendations announced yesterday that punishment killings should cease immediately—it behoves IRA-Sinn Fein not just to condemn the recent killings, but to take direct action to prevent further murders?

Photo of Mr John Wheeler Mr John Wheeler , Westminster North

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. The Mitchell report noted that the key to progress is confidence. My hon. Friend is right when he questions how people can have confidence when the provisional IRA is beating and murdering people and Sinn Fein refuses to condemn that. An important measure for establishing confidence will be the speed and conviction with which the parties demonstrate and honour—and I stress honour—their commitment to the six Mitchell principles, one of which is the disposal of weapons and semtex.