DERRY — Police in the Irish Republic have arrested seven people as part of an investigation into Irish Republican Army (IRA) money-laundering.
Euro and sterling notes worth a total of €3.6 million were seized in capital Dublin and in Cork, and further police raids were ongoing areas in the midlands and east of the country.
One raid on Thursday morning recovered £2 million (nearly €2.9 million) from a house in rural Cork. Senior detectives from Northern Ireland’s police were in Dublin on Friday for a security meeting with their counterparts in the Republic.
Police believe that some or all of the cash was part of the €38 million taken in the Northern Bank robbery committed in Belfast in Northern Ireland in late December. It has been confirmed that Northern Bank notes made up some of the cash seized by the Irish police.
The robbery was attributed to the IRA, and one of those arrested in Cork was a Sinn Féin candidate in the Irish general election in 2002.
Sinn Féin, the political party linked to the IRA, has been under enormous pressure since the Belfast robbery. The Irish and British governments publicly questioned the honesty of senior Sinn Féin negotiators, who may have known about the robbery as it was being planned, which seemingly coincided with intensive pre-Christmas negotiations to restore the devolved government to Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams is in Spain promoting his new book. Asked about the arrests while in Barcelona on Thursday night, he said, “I never comment on speculation.”
Sinn Féin is also facing pressure over separate allegations of IRA involvement in the 31 January murder of Robert McCartney, who was beaten and stabbed to death outside a pub in the nationalist Short Strand area of Belfast. His family have publicly blamed local members of the IRA, and have called on senior Sinn Féin members to encourage witnesses to give evidence to the police.
The IRA issued a statement distancing itself from McCartney’s murder and tacitly encouraged witnesses to give evidence to the police.
Northern Ireland’s three decades of civil conflict up to 1998 saw over 3,600 people killed, most of them civilians, as mostly Catholic Irish nationalists and republican paramilitaries, who want Northern Ireland to merge with the Republic of Ireland to the south, faced off against mostly Protestant unionists or loyalist counterparts who want to remain part of the United Kingdom. British soldiers flooded into Northern Ireland but were viewed by many nationalists as a hostile occupation force and were regularly targeted by the IRA.Show