As Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, I regard as reprehensible and absolutely unacceptable some of the events which surrounded a funeral in Dublin yesterday.

Paramilitary trappings should not blind people to the fact that what is at issue is criminal terrorism carried on by people who, for their own reasons, want to drag the people of this island back to a dark past. In treating the will of the people, North and South, with contempt, they dishonour democracy.

I recognise fully the immediate difficulties which face An Garda Siochana when people take advantage of a funeral to behave in this fashion. But the Garda Commissioner has assured me that they are pursuing rigorously any breaches of the law which took place.

The Gardai, together with their colleagues in the North, will continue to take every action open to them to deal with the activities of members of these groups, whether they are engaging in terrorism or organised crime.

9 September 2012