http://www.newsletter.co.uk/story/26017 "Two leading republicans have been named in the House of Lords as central figures in fuel laundering in Northern Ireland. Lord Laird of Artigarvan named the two south Armagh men, using parliamentary privilege, during a debate on the economic effects of IRA smuggling on the fuel industry. Dismissing remarks by Minister of State Lord Rooker in which he suggested that supermarkets and cheaper petrol over the border had caused problems in the fuel business, Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird instead laid the blame at the door of the IRA. "My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that the major problem, as we see it, is fuel laundering? Despite the fact that three plants were closed down last week, there are still nine plants in south Armagh," he said. "One of the plants was owned by a fellow called Michael Carragher, known as the south Armagh sniper, who murdered nine members of the security forces and was given a plant to launder fuel by the IRA." Lord Laird also alleged that a second leading republican had been involved in dumping toxic waste. "Does the Minister also recognise that there is an environmental problem?" he said. "On the orders of Slab Murphy, a group of men dumped 45 tonnes of toxic acid, which was used to make three million litres of diesel fuel at Conra Wood on January 15. Is it not about time that the Government clamped down on this multi-million pound industry which is distorting the economy of Northern Ireland and is helping the IRA to fund its illegal activities?" In response, Lord Rooker quoted from last week's report by the Independent Monitoring Commission, saying: "Members and former members of the PIRA continue to be heavily involved in serious organised crime, including counterfeiting and the smuggling of fuel and tobacco." During the debate the Minister also revealed that, since 2005, Customs had increased the number of officers engaged in tackling oil fraud in Northern Ireland from 25 or 26 to 160. "It has maintained that level of resource since that time. Lessons are being learned," said Lord Rooker. "The Organised Crime Task Force is looking at options for how petrol-licensing powers can be announced. We have to knock this issue on the head - it's a serious problem that must be addressed." The debate comes just days after the News Letter exclusively revealed that fuel giants BP, Shell and Esso have pulled out of Northern Ireland because of the impact of IRA laundering and smuggling."