Media promotes anti-IRA hoax
Allegations in the mainstream media that properties worth over
40 million Euros have been connected to the Provisional IRA
have been discredited in a press conference on Tuesday.
Following orchestrated media briefings to selected journalists,
it was widely alleged that raids of properties in Manchester
were linked to the finances of the IRA through a prominent
County Louth-based republican.
The briefing were sourced to the PSNI and the head of the
police's Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), Alan McQuillan.
In a press conference yesterday, a lawyer acting for Dermot
Craven, the Manchester businessman targeted by the ARA, has said
his client manages only seven properties, not the hundreds
reported in the media.
He said he had never met the alleged IRA link and criticised
what he described as the "political agenda" behind the raids.
The total portfolio is worth less than a million Euro, Mr Craven
Mr Craven said the last time a property transaction had taken
place involving the parties was "approximately two years ago".
Mr Kenyon last night blasted the ARA for having "successfully
manipulated the media".
He questioned why tens of thousands of pounds was spent on
targeting his client.
"It is clear that the ARA have been deliberately feeding the
media in a way designed to enhance their own profile without any
proper consideration for my client's rights, and for the fact
that they are innocent -- as anyone can see because they are not
accused of any crime.
"The ARA have fostered a belief or an approach which clearly
suggests otherwise and quite frankly, that is unacceptable.
"If you glance at this #30 million [#20 million], it is complete
rubbish. The 250 properties is complete rubbish. The reality is
it was for their own benefit and they have spent tens of
thousands in a wasted way."
Mr Kenyon hit out at the extensive police support given to ARA
raids at his client's home and business premises.
"They sat in the waiting room, drinking tea, smoking cigarettes
and burning the carpet.
"It was the easiest day's dossing work for those police officers
in a long time," Mr Kenyon said.
Conor Murphy, the Sinn Fein MP for Newry and Armagh, said
yesterday: "It is very clear that the ARA raids in Manchester
last week were politically motivated and based entirely on
innuendo, spin and malicious briefing.
"There is a clear responsibility on the two governments to sack
those securocrats responsible for using their positions in
organisations like the ARA to undermine the peace process.
"Such individuals not only undermine the political process but
also undermine public confidence in the impartiality and ability
of groups like the ARA to properly carry out the important job
of seizing criminal assets," Mr Murphy said.
* The President of the Workers' Party of Ireland was arrested
during the party's annual conference in Belfast at the weekend,
perventing him from delivering his keynote address.
Sean Garland, a former leader of the now-defunct 'Official IRA',
was accused of taking part in an international counterfeiting
US federal prosecutors are reportedly seeking his extradition,
along with six others.
Workers' Party members took time off from their conference to
stage a protest outside Belfast City Hall on Saturday. The
party's general secretary, John Lowry, said the arrest was
"This has caused intense anger and happened because of our
opposition to the Iraq war and because we challenge US
policies," added Mr Lowry.