[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 22:15 GMT
Orde defends top officer on IRA
IRA mural
Policing Board members were told IRA still involved in organised crime
Sir Hugh Orde has defended his Assistant Chief Constable's assessment of IRA involvement in organised crime.

Sam Kinkaid refused to accept Security Minister Sean Woodward's assessment that the IRA as an organisation was no longer involved in crime.

Meanwhile, the Policing Board remains at odds with Mr Woodward.

A police briefing to the board said the IRA was involved in organised crime, but last month Mr Woodward said the IRA is no longer involved in such activity.

Mr Woodward wrote to the board and said there was a distinction between the actions of individuals and the "intention of organisations".

Board chairman Desmond Rea said this did not address the board's concerns.

Professor Rea has made public his correspondence to Mr Woodward over the matter.

"From the briefing the board acknowledges that, in certain areas, progress has and is being made," he wrote.

"But on the issues of organised crime the board is clear that PSNI and the other agencies advised that all paramilitary groups were still involved in organised crime.

"This is clearly at odds with your position as stated during the briefing and in your earlier statement of 13 December 2005."

Professor Desmond Rea
Professor Desmond Rea said members were concerned

Mr Rea also said he did not believe the breach of confidentiality that led to the assessment to the board being made public emanated from any board member or officer.

He said that the board "awaits with interest" the publication of the Independent Monitoring Commission Report, "which will allow everyone to judge the position based on the evidence available".

On Thursday Sir Hugh, head of the PSNI, said his Assistant Chief Constable had his total support.

"I am very clear on the situation. Sam Kinkaid has my total support," he said.

"He is an extremely experienced CID officer. He has actually in his career not worked in Special Branch, despite what some people are saying currently.

"He has given an assessment in a confidential briefing.

"What I think is right now is that we wait for the IMC report. We have given our evidence to the IMC report, as have many other people, and when they report I think people will be able to form their own assessment."

Mr Kinkaid, the PSNI's most senior detective, gave a confidential briefing to board members on Tuesday.

It is believed Mr Kincaid said there had been significant progress in terms of ending some activities on the part of the IRA, such as paramilitary attacks and armed robberies.

However, he told board members that no paramilitary group, including the IRA, has ceased involvement in organised crime.

He said the police had seen no change in this for a year.

Minister clarifies 'IRA position'
18 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific