Responding to the publication of the latest Independent Monitoring Commission report into paramilitary activity, Alliance Party Leader David Ford MLA stated:
“The IMC has sent out a clear message that the full range of sanctions against Sinn Fein is now appropriate, given the recent actions of the IRA not only with respect to the Northern Bank raid but a catalogue of ongoing paramilitarism and criminality.
“Indeed, they have clearly said that that if the Assembly had been operational, then there would have been grounds for the exclusion of Sinn Fein from any government.
“This advice is at odds with the current position of the British and Irish Governments. The Governments are rightly demanding that Republicans end all paramilitary and criminal activity. But they are wrongly putting all of the process on hold until Republicans can accept the same common value of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as everyone else.
“The final paragraph of the Report is a challenge to all those involved in Sinn Fein to face up to the choice between paramilitarism and democracy. But the challenge is not just to Sinn Fein.
“Today’s recommendations from the IMC pose critical questions for the Governments in terms of their current approach. When Alliance first proposed the creation of a body such as the IMC, we recognised the importance of this.
“There was a feeling that the Two Governments, for political reasons, had a stake in preserving an inclusive process at all costs. Therefore, there was a need to an independent body, which could assess the evidence, and make a clear judgement on what steps would be required to sustain the integrity of the political process.
“The IMC has clearly told the Governments that we need Integrity as well as Inclusivity. The question now is how the Governments will respond.”