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Northern Ireland Assembly told IRA are 'most ruthless killing machine in the whole of the western world'

Northern Ireland Assembly told IRA are 'most ruthless killing machine in the whole of the western world'

The IRA was the most ruthless killing machine in the western world, the Northern Ireland Assembly has been told.

Members debated the killing of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast by members of the Provisional IRA last month.

However senior Sinn Fein member Gerry Kelly said it was a pseudo-crisis manufactured by political unionism and that the IRA left the stage in 2005 and was not coming back.

"Whosoever was involved in those killings, whatever connection they may claim to Irish republicanism, they are criminals who have been involved in murder."

Democratic Unionist peer Lord Maurice Morrow said the organisation had been responsible for four killings since the ceasefires which were supposed to have ended the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland.

"No one needs any reminding of the ruthlessness of the Provisional IRA, the most ruthless killing machine in the whole of the western world."

He said now was a "watershed" moment for Northern Ireland.

He was debating a motion on the killings of Mr McGuigan and Jock Davison in the Stormont Assembly.

"This is not the first murder, this is four of recent times excluding those that have gone before that."

Others he connected to the IRA included the killings of Robert McCartney in 2005 and Paul Quinn in 2007.

Ulster Unionist Mike Nesbitt said his members would not be voting in the Assembly debate.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has said the IRA still exists but Sinn Fein has said it went away a decade ago.

Mr Nesbitt said: "Sinn Fein and the PSNI need to be on the same page about the condition of the IRA in 2015 otherwise there is no confidence, there is no trust, there is no credibility."