Northern Ireland

Independent Monitoring Commission report reaction

front page of report
Image caption The report was launched in Belfast on Wednesday

The Independent Monitoring Commission has published its latest assessment of paramilitary activity it Northern Ireland. The report said dissident republicans remain highly active and dangerous. Below is some of the reaction to the report.

OWEN PATERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

"The IMC report that the criminal justice system offers a potent response to paramilitaries, particularly now it is owned by and accountable to the people of Northern Ireland.

"While dissident republicans remain highly active and dangerous, the IMC confirm that their activities are in no way a reappearance of something comparable to the old PIRA campaign, not least because of community support for the political process and the devolution of policing and justice.

"I agree that recent significant acts of decommissioning by both loyalist and republican paramilitaries mark a sea change in paramilitary activity. Northern Ireland still faces serious paramilitary challenges, but the decision by many to eschew violence, is a hugely important signal of change."

DAVID FORD, NORTHERN IRELAND JUSTICE MINISTER

"The report recognises the fact that there are still groups seeking to destroy what we have achieved in recent years as they continue their campaign against our community.

"With this in mind, I note that the IMC has highlighted the need to consider the regulations governing Money Service Bureaux to ensure that they cannot be abused for the financing of paramilitary groups and I will now be taking the issue up with Treasury Ministers with a view to review and strengthen the regulations.

"While the report highlights that the greatest threat remains to be from dissident republicans we must not lose sight of the progress Northern Ireland has made in recent years and the opportunities that lie ahead."

JOHN O'DOWD, SINN FEIN MLA

"The IMC is no part of the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement, it was set up as a unionist comfort blanket, it has no role to play in the political process and should be abolished.

"The monies being wasted in its administration and expenses should be redirected into frontline services as part of the effort to minimise the effect of the Tory cuts."

"No doubt the IMC will produce their usual and predictable report, the contents of which will have no influence on the political process.

DOMINIC BRADLEY, SDLP MLA

"The broad community has completely rejected the dissidents and their methods, so they are forced to operate on the fringes of the criminal underworld.

"This makes them all the more vulnerable to intelligent policing operating with strong community support.

"The dissidents are a danger to people but not to politics because they are politically futile, their attempts to murder police are recognised as an attack on the whole community, and they will be defeated by co-operation between police and community.

"It is clear that dissident republicans are dangerous, they have murdered and they intend to murder again, No doubt they believe they have made some technical advances over recent months, but politically they are in fact in a very old dead end."

DERMOT AHERN, IRISH JUSTICE MINISTER

"Despite the great strides made in securing political progress, there remains a small number of individuals who refuse to heed the democratically expressed wishes of their fellow Irishmen and women.

These thugs failed to stop the Good Friday Agreement, they failed to stop the devolution of policing and justice, and ultimately their tactics of violence and destruction will fail full stop.

"I want to echo the IMC's praise for the efforts of the Garda Siochana and PSNI in countering these criminal gangs - lives have been saved by their actions.

"The (Irish) Government will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Executive and the new justice minister in ensuring the highest level of cross-border co-operation is in place to tackle this menace."

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