“So it’s right to assume it still exists..”

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde’ comments in the Belfast Telegraph focus mostly on dissenting republican paramilitaries’ activities, and touch on international terrorism – given the “international land border here which no other police force in the UK has.” But he also comments on the Provisional IRA

“There is no evidence to say it’s disbanded,” Sir Hugh said. “No one has gone public to say the Army Council has gone away. So it’s right to assume it still exists. “What I can say with absolute certainty is that in terms of PIRA activity, that is to say terrorist activity, it’s not happening. “Does it mean all the Provos have gone into nine to five jobs? Of course it doesn’t. There are some involved in organised crime, without a doubt, but operating as individuals not operating as an organisation, and I think that’s the key distinguishing factor.

“On the other side of course, it must be hugely frustrating to those who don’t have that confidence. It’s easy to deny if someone is killed by someone who is inextricably linked to Provos for someone to say it wasn’t authorised. It’s quite an easy thing to say. “So I can understand. I think the unionist community are going to look for a lot more than just a statement that PIRA have gone away before they are satisfied — but we are not seeing activity.”

That’s in line with the comments of out-going assistant chief constable Peter Sheridan in the Sunday Times, also mentioned here. The “senior source in garda intelligence” in the Sunday Times report doesn’t necessarily contradict that line, but there is a different emphasis

“It [PIRA] has reduced in size but it is there,” the source said. “The organisation is dedicated to following a political path but it will not disband to the point where it could not carry out an operation if it needed to.”