Northern Ireland news

PSNI reviewing admissions by former priest Patrick Ryan over IRA past

Former priest Patrick Ryan who confessed to sourcing weapons for the IRA.
Cate McCurry, Press Association

A senior police officer is reviewing information about a former priest turned IRA member who spoke openly about his links to the paramilitary group, Chief Constable Simon Byrne has confirmed.

There have been calls to extradite Patrick Ryan who has admitted to obtaining money and bomb components for the IRA.

He told BBC Spotlight he travelled around the world raising money for the organisation and admitted discovering timers which made it easier for the IRA to arm bombs without being killed themselves.

Mr Byrne was asked whether he is seeking extradition proceedings against Mr Ryan in the Republic.

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Speaking at the Cross Border Organised Crime Conference in Co Cavan, Mr Bryne said: "I think it's too early to say.

Fr Patrick Ryan attends a rally with Gerry Adams in in the 1980s.

"As you would expect we have a specific line of inquiry we've now got to examine.

"I've got one of our assistant chiefs looking at that today to see if there are fresh lines of inquiry that we would then need to review about decisions made in the past.

"Clearly when new information comes in we need to see does it corroborate what we already know, and if we have to go to the point of seeking extradition that's a conversation for (Garda chief Drew Harris) and his colleagues."

Unionists have called for the Dublin government to apologise for refusing to extradite Mr Ryan in 1988.

UUP councillor Danny Kinahan said that if Mr Ryan lives in the Republic, it will be an opportunity for Dublin to "right a wrong".

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