HC Deb 11 March 1998 vol 308 cc250-1W
24. Mr. Trimble

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has received from the security forces as to the paramilitary organisations responsible for the murder of Kevin Conway and the bombings of Moira and Portadown. [32153]

Mr. Ingram

The RUC consider that the Continuity Army Council were responsible for the bombings in Moira and Portadown.

The RUC have not been able to reach a firm view that the murder of Kevin Conway (whose body was found on 18 February) was authorised by the IRA leadership. However, it is the RUC's assessment that local IRA elements were involved in the murder, although no charges have yet been brought.

Following the murders of Brendan Campbell and Robert Dougan, the two Governments decided on 20 February that Sinn Fein should not be allowed to participate in the Talks. The subsequent RUC assessment in connection with Mr. Conway's murder underlines why the Governments were right to take the action we did.

The press notice issued by the two Governments on 20 February made it clear that the invitation to Sinn Fein to return to the Talks from 9 March could not be issued in the event of further violence by the IRA; and that a similar approach would be taken in the event of further violence by organisations linked to other parties in the Talks.

The Governments indicated on 6 March, in confirming their invitation to Sinn Fein to rejoin, that they were now satisfied that the IRA ceasefire was being observed.

Back to