An Alliance Party has called for Government and political parties to respect the independence of the International Monitoring Commission (IMC), and called for it to be allowed to do its job without interference.
Speaking after leading a delegation to meet the IMC this afternoon [Wed 11th], Alliance Party Leader, David Ford stated: “Although the recent IRA statement and final act of commissioning have created the context for progress, people want to be fully satisfied that there has a full and complete end to all paramilitary and criminal activity by that organisation.”
Alliance first proposed the creation of the IMC in 2002 in order to bring greater integrity to assessments of the nature of paramilitary activity. The temptation was always there for governments to downplay paramilitary activity in order to gain some short-term progress.
“People have had enough of stop-start politics. If there is to be meaningful progress involving Republicans, then people want to know that they are for real.”
It is important that the IMC is allowed to do the job that has been asked of it. In its October Report, it fell short of declaring an end to all paramilitary activity. Since then, both governments have rather unhelpfully tried to second guess what the IMC will say by assuming that there will be ‘a clean bill of health’.
The IMC should continue to focus on both the sins of commission, but also the sins of omission. In addition to reporting on levels of actual activity, it should continue to challenge the IRA to demonstrate that its structures are being dismantled, and that exiles are being allowed to return home in safety.
“However, once a clear picture of a change in IRA behaviour emerges through a transparent and objective procress, it will then be much more possible to put much greater pressure on the DUP for political progress. Fuzziness and expediency do not help.”