“heavy-handed” and “politically motivated”

In politics timing is everything, sometimes worryingly so. Coinciding with the announcement of an agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP on the shape of any devolved ministry of policing and justice, but not the timing of that devolution, the “third phase” in a Garda-led “targeted operation” resulted in the 11th arrest in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Paul Quinn. All those previously arrested have since been released. And, timing again, the Irish News reports criticism of those arrests by Sinn Féin councillor, Brendan Curran, the Chairman of the local DPP, who has called the arrests “heavy-handed” and “politically motivated”. Meanwhile, as Fair Deal noted, the IMC has been asked by the UK and Republic of Ireland governments to produce an ad hoc report on the Provisional IRA’s activities. Adds From the NI Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, “I have asked that they produce an ad hoc report, clarifying its assessment of the completion of the transformation of PIRA as set out in its 18th report.” Update Northern Ireland Junior Minister, the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, has responded to the reports on the IMC’s involvement

Mr Donaldson said: “We will obviously take a very keen interest in what the IMC has to report. “For policing and justice devolution to occur there has to be sufficient confidence in the unionist community and one of those elements is removing the IRA from the stage. “This isn’t the only factor, there will be others that we need to take into account as well like the structures being put in place for the devolution of policing and justice.”