Ahern to meet monitoring body

More than £26m was stolen from the Northern Bank

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern is to meet the Independent Monitoring Commission on Monday ahead of a report on the Northern Bank robbery.

The commission, which monitors paramilitary activity, met the Chief Constable Hugh Orde last week.

It is expected its report will endorse the police assessment that the IRA carried out the £26.5m robbery.

Mr Orde has blamed the IRA for the 20 December raid, a view also backed by the Gardai. The IRA has denied this.

Last week, the taoiseach held his first face-to-face meeting with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams since the chief constable's assessment.

Speaking after the talks, Mr Ahern said he believed garda intelligence which suggests the IRA was indeed responsible for the raid.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said he accepted the chief constable's view that the IRA was behind the raid.

Mr Blair met Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at Chequers where he reiterated his demand that all IRA paramilitary and criminal activity must end if Sinn Fein are to be part of an inclusive political process.

The prime minister is expected to hold talks with Bertie Ahern on Tuesday.

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