Publish IRA report before the election demands Bruton
A second Cabinet minister has called for the garda report into IRA activity to be published before the General Election.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said he would like to see the report being compiled by Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan finalised as soon as possible.
Richard Bruton yesterday expressed deep concern about the prospect of IRA structures still being in place. His comment come following remarks made by the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton.
The Fine Gael politician launched a renewed attack on Sinn Fein, a party he said often could not produce hard facts to support its position.
"I think Sinn Fein have to prove by their actions that they mean what they claim.
"I think that has always been the difficulty that Sinn Fein has had over a long period - [they've] been able to have a very strong PR line, but often it isn't validated by the facts.
"Clearly that disconnect has to be resolved and I think that's a challenge for Sinn Fein," Mr Bruton said.
"From my point of view, any connection with a paramilitary organisation, where structures may still be in place, that is not acceptable in a democratic environment," he added.
Speaking at an event in Dublin, Mr Bruton backed calls this week by Tanaiste Joan Burton for the report into the status of the IRA to be published.
"This is a serious situation and it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible," Mr Bruton said.
The decision by a second Cabinet minister to lay down a timeframe for the report will heap further pressure on the Garda Commissioner. But a source insisted Ms O'Sullivan would not be influenced by remarks made by ministers.
As revealed by the Herald, the report could take several months as it hinges on the progress of the PSNI investigation into the murder of Kevin McGuigan.
The murder, potentially carried out by IRA associates, has sparked a major political storm that has now left the power-sharing assembly in Stormont on the brink of collapse.
Ms O'Sullivan was ordered to conduct the review by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
Sources said that if the PSNI probe revealed that those behind the murder received a command from senior IRA quarters, the Garda position in relation to the status of the Provos could change.
The commissioner on Wednesday finally revealed that she believes the IRA exists. But Ms O'Sullivan is standing over a controversial letter sent in February in which she said she had no "intelligence or information" that IRA military structures are in place.