Alliance Leader, David Ford, has responded to comments by Irish Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, who made renewed distinctions between types of paramilitary activity, by again stressing that all and any paramilitary activity is a threat to democracy and the rule of law.
David Ford said:
“I am disappointed that Mr Ahern is trying to put a spin on the soon to be published IMC Report.
“In particular, I am concerned that he seems to be trying to make arbitrary distinctions between some paramilitary actions that can be deemed to be ‘political’ in nature and others that are not.
“I had thought that such distinctions were a thing of the past, and that through paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration and the creation of the IMC, both Governments recognised this.
“In practice, any and all paramilitary activity associated with a political movement is a threat to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
“It is vital that reports are read and judged on their objective content. People want to be sure that the restorations of the institutions will this time be for real. They have had enough of stop-start politics. The political process with Sinn Fein cannot be build on shaky foundations.
“Yesterday, Alliance met David Hanson MP and emphasised the need for an honest, objective response to the IMC report, to build confidence. Today, it seems that Mr Ahern is trying to find shortcuts.
“Both the Governments need to realise that if they feed cynicism, they are not helping their own cause.”