Democratic Unionist ministers return to Stormont Executive duties

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Democratic Unionist ministers who resigned from the Stormont Executive in the wake of an IRA linked murder are to return to office following the publication of a Government ordered review of paramilitaries activities.

The independent assessment found that all the main republican and loyalist groups, including the Provisional IRA, still exist, but their leaders are committed to peace.

The review, ordered after the shooting of ex-IRA man Kevin McGuigan in August, said an IRA "Provisional Army Council" remains in place, and IRA members believe that ruling body "oversees" Sinn Fein's strategy.

DUP First Minister Peter Robinson stood aside from his duties last month at the height of the political crisis, and three of the party's four other Executive ministers resigned.

The party has faced intense criticism since, as ministers have been reappointed for a matter of hours, only to resign again in a repeating cycle - in order to prevent other parties taking the posts.

The party said it was now prepared to re-appoint all its ministers to office.

Sinn Fein has rejected the claim that an IRA council tells it what to do.