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Republic of Ireland: General Election Results - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:06 am on 12th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Caine Lord Caine Conservative 11:06 am, 12th March 2020

My Lords, the comments of the Garda commissioner, to which my noble friend referred, were based on an assessment carried out in 2015 by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and MI5, which was published by the then Government. The assessment made very clear that the IRA still exists, and that

“the Provisional Army Council oversees both PIRA and Sinn Féin with an overarching strategy.”

As somebody who has spent many hours in meetings with Sinn Féin, I acknowledge the moves that it has made away from violence to politics, but does my noble friend agree that too many ambiguities still exist, as evidenced at the recent Irish election with the chanting of pro-IRA slogans by a number of their candidates? Is it not the case that if Sinn Féin is finally to convince many people across these islands that the journey to exclusively peaceful and democratic means is complete, the structures of the IRA for which there was never any justification must finally go for good?