Stephen Farry stated: “I would pay tribute to the contribution made by the Independent Monitoring Commission over the past seven years.
“The critical function of the IMC was to provide an independent and authoritative source of information on the activities of paramilitary organisations. On the one hand, they could counteract the danger of political decisions being taken on the basis of political rumour or innuendo. Equally, assessments were made at arms length from government reducing the risk that decisions on how to handle violence from politically-associated paramilitary groups would be determined by political expediency.
“In the past, there had been the notion that a ceasefire only covered attacks on the state or security forces, economic targets or the so-called ‘other side’. The IMC was instrumental in entrenching the need for a full end to all forms of violence and criminality from paramilitary groups, and that any and all activity was a threat to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
“The IMC also proved their utility in providing the necessary assurance in the end of the IRA’s violence that allowed political progress in 2006 and 2007 which contributed to the eventual restoration of devolution.
“Alliance had proposed the creation of a ceasefire monitor in 2002 in order to inject some standards into a process where confidence was undermined by political claim and counter-claim. The past seven years of the IMC have more than fulfilled our expectations.”