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RA..FIA exposed in south Armagh

Today in the House of Commons more proof , if more proof were needed, that Sinn Fein/IRA are involved in criminality was exposed. On the day when their Parliamentary expenses are being withdrawn the new information which Dr Paisley outlined in the House shows where Republicans are really getting their money from. The issue of parliamentary expenses is a disgrace but in financial terms represents pocket change to Sinn Fein/IRA. If the government wishes to place sanctions on republicans then they must tackle their criminal empire. An empire founded on crime including robbery, racketeering, smuggling, fraud, counterfeit goods and drugs.

The four abstentionist Sinn Fein MPs each claimed more than 100,000 in parliamentary expenses and allowances last year despite not taking up their seats at Westminster. The claims of Michelle Gildernew for 115,420 between April 2003 and March 2004 is as much theft as the Northern Bank, as she has never set foot in the chamber to represent her constituency.

The sum included 18,400 for the cost of staying away from home while on parliamentary business, yet she has not worked raised one question or spoken in one debate for the people she represents. Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president and MP for West Belfast, claimed 109,315 in expenses and allowances in the same period, including 18,268 in overnight allowances and 64,263 in staff costs. With senior IRA commander Martin McGuinness, claiming 110,653, and his comrade Pat Doherty, being paid a total of 104,064 of tax-payers money.

In order to appreciate the shocking con that Sinn Fein/IRA have undertaken at the British taxpayers expense we must examine the outrage that one Labour MP caused with her high expenses. The highest expenses were claimed by Claire Curtis-Thomas MP for the sum of 168,889. Whilst these may be high, she is a full time MP who actually represents her constituents unlike Michelle Guildernew who claims just over 53,469 less each year. The stark reality of the theft of taxpayers money by Sinn Fein/IRA is made clear by the fact that the Prime Minister only claims 80,836. The outrage should never have been allowed by MPs who have in effect allowed Sinn Fein to steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from under their noses.

The real source of Republican finance is the lucrative smuggling, drug-running and counterfeit goods rackets centred on South Armagh. Today for the first time the godfathers of this 'RA-FIA' will be exposed in Parliament. Dr Paisley has taken the brave step of naming the men alleged to be behind the multi-million pound criminal empire in South Armagh. The men it is claimed are either active Republicans or are working under the direction and protection of the PIRA. They are alleged to operate the fronts for PIRA criminality, and are responsible for laundering millions of pounds through 'legitimate' front businesses.

As a group we too have been pressing for the exposure of such men and others in the area as the money generated by crime will go to fund terrorism of the kind our communities continue to suffer from. Already this work has lead to death threats to members of our community, and we call on Sinn Fein to take the same stance against those who would attack and intimidate the protestant community of South Armagh as they have done in Belfast. However intimidation will not deter the people from both communities in South Armagh who have united to oppose the drug peddlers, thieves and racketeers of the PIRA. Experts have predicted that as the PIRA adapts to changed circumstances it will evolve into a dangerous organised criminal mafia such as has been the cancer at the heart of many American cities. The government must act now to surgically remove this cancer and to make sure that those who are politicians by day criminals by night have no hiding place.


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