IRA Paramilitary and Criminal Activity Firmly on the Agenda
Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has said that the problem of continued Republican paramilitary and criminal activity has not been properly addressed in the past, but will now have to be in the aftermath of the Northern Ireland Bank raid.
Dr Farry stated:
“Throughout the intensive talks last autumn, Alliance warned that an over-concentration on the issue of decommissioning was taking the focus off achieving a clear and unambiguous commitment from Republicans to end all paramilitary and criminal activity. Similarly, trite demands from others for the IRA to declare that ‘the war is over’ were giving them the opportunity to continue a wide range of activities.
“Unsurprisingly, the proposed IRA statement published by the Two Governments was full of holes.
“The confirmation by the Chief Constable of IRA involvement in the Northern Bank raid now puts all IRA paramilitary and criminal activity on the agenda.
“In the past, the major political crises have tended to be based around individual actions that threatened the state or the immediate security interests of unionists, such as Castlereagh and Stormontgate. But since 1994, the IRA has continued to engage in paramilitary beatings and shootings, exiling and organised crime with impunity.
“Paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration was supposed to herald a new dawn, where it was recognised that all paramilitary activities, not just attacks on the state or the so-called other side, are threats to democracy and human rights.
“Surely, it must be fully understood that Republicans must accept and be seen to sign up to agreed common standards? There cannot be any equivocation on the rule of law by any potential party of government.”