Reynolds urges Sinn Féin to abandon IRA

03/03/2005 - 10:18:18

Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds has called on Sinn Féin to “walk away” from the IRA and take seats on the police board of Northern Ireland.

Mr Reynolds said the party should listen to concerns in the Republican community over the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

Mr Reynolds urged Sinn Féin to commit to the peace process by taking seats on the board which holds accountable the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and his party has always refused to recognise the PSNI, which has accused the IRA of carrying out the £26.5m (€38m) Northern Bank heist on December 20 in Belfast.

Mr Reynolds told BBC Radio Scotland: “Sinn Féin are under a lot of pressure from people in the Strand (area of Belfast) and I think they got a result already. Sinn Féin have moved their position.

“They have to recognise that their people are calling for action. This is where the IRA started and I believe that this is where they’re going to have to finish because they have to be stood down by agreement with Sinn Féin and the government.”

The Provisional IRA last month expelled three of its members over the murder of Mr McCartney, amid a campaign by the man’s family to bring his killers to justice.

The 33-year forklift truck driver and father-of-two was drinking in a Belfast bar on January 30 when he was fatally stabbed and beaten after a row.

Mr Reynolds – who was Taoiseach from 1992-95 – said Sinn Féin should end any links with the paramilitaries now.

“They have to face the situation of either standing down the IRA, or Sinn Féin has to walk away from the IRA. They can’t continue in the way they are carrying on with this,” he said.

“The bank robbery, which hasn’t been proven to be theirs but it’s pointing in that direction, and the horrible murder of McCartney in the Strand has brought everyone’s imaginations to bear.”

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