Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Cllr Stephen Farry, has responded to the news that Sinn Fein have lodged a further legal challenge to the existence of the Independent Monitoring Commission by stating that the independent, objective reports of that body are actually in Sinn Fein’s interests.
Dr Farry stated: “This latest legal challenge to the IMC will no doubt founder just like their last challenge. The real issue is why Sinn Féin is challenging the IMC at all – because it is certainly not in its interests for the IMC to disappear.
“If the basis of their challenge is the point that the IMC was not mentioned in the Agreement, then logic would assume that Sinn Fein would also want nothing to do with the scandalous legislation for the so-called ‘On the Runs’ or with speaking rights for Northern MPs in the Dáil Éireann.
“In practice, the IMC builds upon the Agreement, and is integral to efforts to have the Agreement implemented.
‘The IMC is now playing a pivotal role in efforts to get a talks process restored. Its reports and independent benchmarking are crucial for building trust and confidence.
“Sinn Fein are clamouring for negotiations to begin in early 2006. But the reality is that there will be no talks unless the IMC gives the Republican Movement a clean bill of health.
“If and when this positive report is made, then great pressure can be applied to any party, such as the DUP, that refuses to engage in talks. Without the objective and transparent standards provided by the IMC, the DUP would be better placed to express continued doubts regarding the end to all paramilitary and criminal activity as an excuse to avoid engagement.
“Therefore, assuming that Sinn Féin is genuine about progress, the role being performed by the IMC is actually in its interest.”