Ford calls on First and deputy First Minister to release Executive response to paramilitary report

David Ford MLA has called on the First and deputy First Minister to publicly announce the Executive response to a major panel report on paramilitarism.

The Alliance Leader has written to Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness to determine when the Executive reaction to the ‘Fresh Start Panel report on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Groups’ will be published. The report, by an independent three-person panel, was made public on June 7, and as part of the ‘Fresh Start’ agreement, it was stated an Executive response would be published by the end of June.

In last week’s Assembly, Mr Ford’s party colleague Kellie Armstrong received a commitment from the First Minister the report would be published by the end of June, which has since passed.

“This report was launched in a blaze of publicity by the Executive as part of a reaction to events last year, including serious violence,” said Mr Ford.

“However, the Executive has not followed up in terms of making public its response to the report. That is simply not good enough. We need to remove the poison of paramilitarism from our society.

“Part of that is having a co-ordinated plan by the Executive, which has been seen and voted on by the Assembly. To have not even seen an Executive response almost a month after the report was published, despite a clear commitment last year, shows the lack of respect the new Executive clearly has for the rest of the institutions and for the people who so desperately wish to see an end to all paramilitary activity.”

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