PSNI Det Supt Geddes: “It is my assessment at this stage and my belief that people who are members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder, but we will not speculate on at what level.”

The police held a press conference today on the on-going investigation into the murder of former Provisional IRA member Kevin McGuigan Sr in the Short Strand area of Belfast last week – he had reportedly been “warned by the police that he was under threat from republicans” following the murder of former PIRA commander Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison in May.  Of several arrests earlier this week one man has been charged with possession of a Glock pistol with intent to endanger life.

The BBC report has quotes from Det Supt Kevin Geddes

“Action Against Drugs as you may be aware made a public statement on 6 August that they would execute anybody who had any involvement or they believed had any involvement in the murder of Jock Davison,” he added.

“It is my assessment that Action Against Drugs are a group of individuals who are criminals, violent dissident republicans and former members of the Provisional IRA.

“They are dangerous, they are involved in violence and extortion of the nationalist and republican communities and they have a criminal agenda.

My assessment is that this is a separate group from the Provisional IRA. A major line of inquiry for this investigation is that members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder.

“I have no information at this stage to say whether that was sanctioned at a command level or not and I’m not prepared to speculate on that.” [added emphasis]

And the RTÉ report clarifies a significant point

When asked directly whether members of the IRA or “former” members were involved, Mr Geddes said: “It is my assessment at this stage and my belief that people who are members of the Provisional IRA were involved in this murder, but we will not speculate on at what level.”

In regard to the extent of PIRA involvement, he said: “I have no information at this stage to say whether this was sanctioned at command level or not and I am not prepared to speculate on that.” [added emphasis]

[What ‘command level’ would that be? – Ed]  Indeed.  As Henry McDonald asked in the Guardian on 13 August.

It all leaves [PSNI Chief Constable George] Hamilton with a huge question to answer: will he as chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland ask who was actually behind the killing of McGuigan? And does he think there is any connection between this latest murder and some of the republican veterans he addressed in west Belfast just a few weeks earlier?

The BBC also has some of the political reaction…