Sinn Féin has stated that Chief Constable George Hamilton stands by the Police Service of Northern Ireland's statement that Provisional IRA members were involved in the murder of Kevin McGuigan Sr, according to BBC reports. The statement follows an ongoing series of meetings between Hamilton and representative of the main Northern Ireland political parties about the police investigation into the killing.
McGuigan Sr, a former IRA member, died after being shot at home in east Belfast last week. The BBC reports that the police believe Provisional IRA members liaised with a group called Action Against Drugs to carry out the killing.
A Sinn Féin delegation met Hamilton on 22 August. Senior Sinn Féin member Gerry Kelly said the chief constable needed to "follow the evidence" and added that the party would support the investigation. On 21 August, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams stated that the IRA had no involvement in the murder. Meanwhile, Kelly said that Hamilton had agreed that Sinn Féin supports the police.
"We rejected any suggestion the IRA was involved in the killing of Kevin McGuigan. The IRA stood down over 10 years ago," said the Member of the Legislative Assembly for North Belfast. "Sinn Féin's commitment to peaceful and democratic progress is beyond question."
He added that the party had raised with Hamilton "concerns about a number of speculative and unhelpful comments made recently".
Following the Ulster Unionist Party's meeting with Hamilton on 22 August, party leader Mike Nesbitt said it was "clear the IRA still exists". Nesbitt said Sinn Féin's credibility was "in tatters" and that it needed to "accept some responsibility" for McGuigan Sr's killing.
"They continue to insult our intelligence by claiming no IRA involvement in this latest murder," said Nesbitt. "The nature of the political implications remains open as the police investigation progresses. But Sinn Féin are endangering the political process by refusing to come clean about the IRA."
After the SDLP's meeting with Hamilton party leader Alasdair McDonnell said the "skeleton" of the IRA remains. But McDonnell also said there was insufficient evidence to start moves to terminate the Northern Ireland Assembly. This followed remarks by First Minister Peter Robinson, who said he would discuss the exclusion of Sinn Féin from the executive with other Northern Ireland parties.
The DUP is due to meet the chief constable later on 22 August.