Alliance meets IMC for first time

An Alliance Party Delegation will tomorrow meet with the International Monitoring Commission for the first time. The delegation will consist of Party Leader David Ford, Deputy Leader Eileen Bell, East Belfast MLA Naomi Long, and Justice Spokesperson Stephen Farry.

The Independent Monitoring Commission builds upon a proposal first presented to the two Governments by the Alliance Party back in July 2002.

Speaking before the meeting, Alliance Party Leader David Ford stated: “Alliance welcomes this first opportunity to meet formally with the Commission. I believe that the IMC has a key role in providing confidence in the integrity of the peace process.

“It can achieve this by shining a spotlight on the dark deeds of paramilitary organisations, to provide objective reports of any breaches of faith, and help to create the domestic and international pressure that will persuade those who are in default to change their behaviour. It will provide an incentive for paramilitary groups and political parties to clearly demonstrate that they are living up to their obligations.

“It is not designed to catch people out or to create a context for exclusion, but rather it was created to give people confidence that paramilitary organisations are abiding by their commitments. Nevertheless, it is important that a credible sanctions regime is in place to back up these efforts, and to provide an effective deterrent.

“Already there is much that the Commission will have to comment on in its first report. Despite the rhetoric, it is clear that Republicans are continuing to engage in certain illegal activities. Recent developments within Loyalism are also deeply worrying.

“The Commission builds upon the Agreement and is consistent with its principles. I am particularly intrigued that Sinn Fein seem to be arguing that it does not, especially when they are arguing so vigorously on the issue of the so-called ‘On the Runs’, which was not contained in the Agreement either. Nonetheless I welcome the fact that Sinn Féin has met with the IMC, despite their previous rhetoric.”

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