Michael McDowell puts the blame for the escape and re-appearance of the Colombian Three on the Army Council of the IRA. He notes that in light of recent press reports this may have been known to includes high level members of Sinn Fein.
The minister added: “Their presence [the Colombia Three] raises very, very serious questions for the Provo movement and for the people who were in charge of that movement at the time that they were sent there using false identities.” On the men`s trip to Colombia, he said: “As far as I am concerned it can only have been done, because it was so fraught with difficulty and risk, with the collusion of the top management of the Provisional movement, and I am talking now about the Army Council.”
Mr McDowell said people should question the motives behind the men`s arrival during a crucial phase of the peace process. “The responsibility for that lies fairly and squarely with the Provo movement,” he said. “I have no doubt it lies fairly and squarely with the leadership of Sinn Fein, which was until recently personally mixed together with the other members of Army Council, who sent them to Colombia in the first place.”