Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has responded to Peter Hain’s comments on today’s IMC report by noting that there are still gaps in the Republican acceptance of exclusively peaceful and democratic means. He added that people should judge the IMC report on its contents, rather than any spin.
David Ford said: “While considerable advances have been made, it is clear the Republican Movement has still some way to go before fully accepting exclusively peaceful and democratic means, and supporting and upholding the rule of law.
“It is clear that IRA structures remain in place, and that there is formal leadership sanctioned activity that goes beyond the bounds of acceptable democratic behaviour.
“Alliance firmly believes that any and all paramilitary activity is a threat to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The Republican Movement cannot have it both ways.
“All members of society, including Republicans, have a duty to co-operate with the lawful authorities to ensure that the criminal justice system can do its job.
“It is not just the acts of commission that trouble Alliance, but also acts of omission. Threats against those exiled by the IRA have not been lifted.
“I welcome the fact that in his early morning interview, the Secretary of State appeared to give a more balanced assessment of the IMC report, rather than the spin which exaggerated the positive side of previous reports. Such spin fooled nobody, and damaged the chances of progress.
“But it would have been better for the Government to say nothing, and let the facts speak for themselves. Any appearance of spin only aids those unionist refuseniks who are searching for any excuse to not engage.
“Alliance looks forward to a meaningful political process that includes Sinn Fein, but such a process must be based on honesty and integrity. As this IMC report demonstrates, there has been progress, but there can be no short cuts.”