The publication of the Independent Reporting Commission report highlights a clear political basis and desire to steer clear of any mention of the IRA.
Unionist Voice Policy Studies (UVPS) submitted an extensive report to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee organised crime inquiry, which highlighted a number of key issues;
• How the Paramilitary Crime Task Force are singularly failing to pursue high level IRA white collar crime, which includes laundering millions of pounds of illegal funds through front businesses across Belfast. Whilst numerous proceeds of crime investigations have been launched by the PCTF and NCA against loyalists for relatively small amounts of money, there has not been one single investigation or arrest in relation to IRA financial crime
• How IRA membership has been ‘normalised’ and ‘politicised’ whilst the PCTF have continued to pursue loyalists for membership. This includes seizing conflict related memorabilia, whilst refusing to carry out such seizures from IRA terror museums.
• The PSNI claim they do not meet members of illegal organisations, however they continue to regularly meet with convicted IRA terrorists and senior IRA leader such as Sean Murray and Chief of Staff Martin Lynch.
• The issues around the PSNI’s public commentary which creates the impression that the PCTF exists solely to target loyalists, whilst there is no commentary or investigations into the IRA.
This report raises serious challenges for the PSNI, and indeed the entire transition process. Every person must be treated equally under the law and held equally subject to the law.
There appears to have been a recent change, when ACC Barbara Gray indicated before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that ‘other’ investigations were ongoing in response to a question from former Labour MP Kate Hoey around the lack of policing resources being deployed against the IRA.
However, the PSNI must publicly clarify whether they are investigating the illegal financial activities of the IRA, and if not, why not? This white-collar crime associated with this terror gang is stark in comparison. In one case the PSNI are pursuing a loyalist over a pair of trainers valued at £10.
The politically driven nature of the IRC was exposed when Monica McWilliams admitted that the reason why the IRA weren’t referred to in their most recent report was “political”.
Just precisely how “political” is the Fresh Start Agreement and the PCTF that flowed from it? Why are loyalists deemed fair game whilst the IRA are granted de-facto immunity?
You can read the whole report here Unionist Voice Policy Studies NIAC