Thursday, October 06, 2005


Provo properties

Properties worth £30m and thought to be linked to the IRA are being targeted in raids in Greater Manchester.

Searches have identified about 250 properties linked to two businessmen, which are being investigated by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA).

It is thought to follow an inquiry into the business and financial affairs of Thomas "Slab" Murphy, who is widely considered to be the head of the IRA.

Commenting on the news, Justice Minister Michael McDowell insisted London and Dublin would come down hard on the Provos if they break the law.

"I do say that anyone who believes that political development will somehow airbrush out the whole question of the proceeds of criminality and the massive portfolio of assets which many people involved in Paramilitarism have and intend to use to pervert the democratic process in this state, they should think twice now because those assets should not be written off. On the contrary, they are being sought and tracked down," he said.

The Ulster Unionist's Danny Kennedy warned today's developments could cause major damage to a new push to restore power-sharing at Stormont.

"This is a very disturbing development indeed.

"If, after investigation by the ARA, the properties turn out to be linked to the IRA this will have very serious consequences for the political process in Northern Ireland."

Dear oh dear. I thought we could start being a bit optimistic for the future in light of recent events regarding decommissioning but I guess I was wrong.

Although the Provos have laid down their arms, sadly it appears laying down their wallets is a step too far...


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