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Garda involved in hunt for suspect as investigation into McGuigan murder continues

Senior investigating officer Kevin Geddes

Detectives investigating the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan are working alongside An Garda Siochana after a man wanted for questioning in connection about the killing has fled to the Republic.

The man is not believed to be suspected of shooting the 53-year-old, but is wanted in connection with allegedly assisting the killers by allowing a property to be used as a 'safe house' in the aftermath of the murder.

He fled Belfast in the days after the killing and gardai are now helping police track the man who may be hiding out in Dundalk.

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed to The Irish News that they had been in contact with police south of the border "during the course of this investigation".

Speaking this week Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes said he believed members of a group called Action Against Drugs along with Provisional IRA members were involved in the killing of the father of nine.

This has been denied by Sinn Féin who have said the IRA no longer exists after being stood down in 2005.

Head of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) Mark Lindsay, said yesterday that the suggestion of IRA involvement was a "worrying development" saying officers "view developments with great and justifiable concern".

"This was a deliberate and measured assessment by the PSNI, conscious that every syllable would be placed under the microscope and weighed and analysed", Mr Lindsay said.

"Officers are doing their best to police and safeguard this entire community and that means there is no place for murder gangs or paramilitary organisations which have nothing but misery to offer.

"Our Officers are every bit a part of civic society and they, too, strive for peace without the threat of the gunman", said Mr Lindsay.

Police have to date arrested ten people in connection with the murder in the Comber C|ourt area of the Short Strand area earlier this month.

Eight people have been released unconditionally, including Shankill bomber Sean Kelly whom it is believed was in Donegal on holiday at the time of the killing with his family. Sean Clinton (49) arrested in west Belfast on Wednesday was also released unconditionally.

One man Patrick Fitzpatrick, with an address in Lagmore in west Belfast, has been remanded in custody after being charged with possession of a weapon with intent. Two guns recovered during police searches are not believed to be the murder weapons.

A 60-year-old man arrested in east Belfast yesterday remains in custody at Antrim serious crime suite.

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