Alliance meets with secretary of state

An Alliance Party delegation today met with the Secretary of State to discuss proposals for an independent observer to report on the levels of paramilitary violence.

Speaking after the meeting, David Ford stated:

“The problem of continuing street violence and other paramilitary activities are gradually eroding confidence from the peace process. At present, there is an assumption that uncomfortable truths are being swept under the carpet for the sake of political expediency, and question marks regarding the good faith of some parties.”

“Alliance believes that there is a need for a more transparent mechanism to provide the public and the political parties with information about the levels of paramilitary violence in the community.”

“Alliance first proposed that the Government appoint an international observer to report on the levels of paramilitary violence at Hillsborough on 4 July.”

“We are pleased that some progress has been made on this issue, and that the Government seems to have accepted the need for some type of mechanism, in principle.”

“Alliance believes that the best approach would be the appointment of a well-known and highly respected, independent, international figure to report and comment on the activities of the paramilitary organisations on ceasefire. This approach could maximise public confidence in the objectivity of any commentary that is provided.”

“Alliance has been clear from day one that formal determinations on the status of ceasefires should remain strictly the prerogative of the Secretary of State.”

“This proposal should not be seen as either a concession to Unionists or the first part of a staged process to exclude Sinn Fein from Government. Rather it is a calibrated response to a growing problem aimed at restoring both integrity and public confidence to the peace process.”


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