Ford says paramilitary report builds on Alliance work

Alliance Leader David Ford has said a major report on paramilitarism builds on work Alliance led in the Department of Justice.

He was speaking after the launch of the ‘Fresh Start Panel report on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Groups’ by the three-person panel by the First Minister, deputy First Minister and Justice Minister.

Mr Ford said parts of the report backed his work while he was Justice Minister.

“I congratulate the panel on the production of the report to the timescale envisaged last autumn and welcome the constructive engagement of many people across the justice system and beyond.

“However, even a cursory reading shows there are substantial recommendations which must be implemented to remove the poison of paramilitarism and move our society forward. A number of them build on the work I was able to lead in the DOJ, such as the reform of committals, which were previously blocked by the Executive or the Assembly.

“It is also clear the panel views the reduction in community policing which was forced by cuts to the DOJ budget as damaging and they need to be reversed, an issue I was previously vocal on.

“There is now a huge challenge on the Executive to prepare an action plan which will deliver real change for the benefit of everyone in society.”

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