Ford welcomes consideration of new paramilitary watchdog

Alliance Leader David Ford MLA has welcomed the UK Government’s announcement that it is giving “serious consideration” to establishing a new paramilitary watchdog but criticised the DUP for attempting to further delay talks.

Mr Ford was speaking after Theresa Villiers told the House of Commons the Government was committed to reaching a resolution in the current talks process by resolving the block on the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, as well as looking at the possibility of an Independent Monitoring Commission-style body to investigate paramilitarism.

“I am pleased the Secretary of State took on board Alliance’s suggestion of an IMC-style body to look at the existence and nature of any paramilitary organisation that has ongoing ties with any party within the political process,” said Mr Ford.

“The external watchdog should, however, widen its scope to include breaches of the Assembly’s pledge of office, particularly in light of various issues that have undermined the credibility of the institutions.

“But it is disappointing the First Minister described the words as a holding statement and it would delay talks. Already we are seeing the playing of games and lack of political will that sends out the message that a true, long-term resolution will be difficult to achieve.”

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