A senior PSNI officer who is leading the investigation of the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast has reportedly linked his death to the Provisional IRA.
Detective superintendent Kevin Geddes has stated that the investigation into the murder is at an early stage, however he has said that definite lines of inquiry are being pursued in relation to the killing of the 53-year-old outside his home on Wednesday, August 12th.
Eight people have been detained so far in the investigation and it has been suggested that the killer may be a member of the PIRA, despite the ceasefire agreed upon ten years ago.
First Minister Peter Robinson said last night that his Democratic Unionist Party would hold talks about the potential exclusion of Sinn Féin from the Assembly, and stated that “before the return of the Assembly from recess we will seek a further update from the chief constable to establish his conclusion regarding those responsible and the role of those in republican movement who are associated with Sinn Féin”.
Despite these claims, Det. Supt. Geddes has said the PSNI deals in “hard information, intelligence and facts” and not speculation or rumours. As stated below, Geddes has acknowledged that the killers may or may not have been past members of the IRA, meaning they are no longer representative of the disbanded group or Sinn Féin in any way.
“A main line of inquiry in this investigation is that Kevin McGuigan was murdered by individuals seeking revenge for the murder of Jock Davison in May. Part of this main line of inquiry is that a group which calls itself Action Against Drugs (AAD) was closely involved in the murder.
“It is also our assessment that some members and associates of AAD are, or were, members of the Provisional IRA. One of our major lines of inquiry is that members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder.
As well as Mr Robinson, several other unionist politicians had voiced their concerns yesterday evening, including UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, who said the statement from the PSNI raises many questions.
“It is important that those questions are answered, otherwise the poison of speculation will fester and infect the political process,” he said.
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly stated last night that both killings were “absolutely wrong” and denied PIRA involvement, saying there were “no republicans involved in these killings”.
“If it was the AAD, I am telling you it was a criminal gang,” he said. “Anyone that has any information about either of these killings needs to bring it forward, whoever is involved in these killings needs taken off the streets and the bereaved families need to bring some sort of closure, both bereaved families.”
He said the “IRA has gone. It has left the stage.”