An Alliance Party Delegation today met with the Secretary of State and the Irish Foreign Minister to discuss the future direction of the peace process in the light of the attempted kidnapping blamed on PIRA last Friday evening.
Speaking after the meeting, David Ford said:
“Alliance has had a very difficult and unsatisfactory meeting with the Two Governments.
“There does not seem to be a grasp of the seriousness of this current crisis, and the urgency with which it needs to be addressed.
“If the Governments are trying to place this issue on the long finger and hope that they will be able to muddle through with the Review, they will be sadly mistaken.
“The Chief Constable has been clear and unambiguous in stating that PIRA were involved.
“Under paragraph 4 of the Agreement establishing the Independent Monitoring Commission, it is clear that the Two Governments can request an ad hoc report from that body on a particular incident.
“Democracy and violence simply cannot mix. For six years, the Governments have tried the process of accommodation. Both Republicans and Loyalists have become emboldened by the belief that they can engage in paramilitary activity with impunity.
“I am amazed that the Governments are continuing to talk about a ceasefire, separate from the definition of an end to paramilitary activity in paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration. This gap must be closed, if the term ceasefire is to have any meaning.
“The Governments must now take a firm stand. When the Governments did take action against the UDP and Sinn Fein in February 1998 by suspending them from the Talks, there was a marked drop in paramilitary activity.
“The Good Friday Agreement can only survive on the basis of honesty and integrity.”
Notes for Editors:
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND AND THE GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND ESTABLISHING
THE INDEPENDENT MONITORING COMMISSION
In relation to the remaining threat from paramilitary groups, the Commission shall
(a) monitor any continuing activity by paramilitary groups including:
i. attacks on the security forces, murders, sectarian attacks,
involvement in riots, and other criminal offences;
ii. training, targeting, intelligence gathering, acquisition or
development of arms or weapons and other preparations
for terrorist campaigns:
iii. punishment beatings and attacks and exiling;
i. whether the leaderships of such organisations are directing
such incidents or seeking to prevent them; and
ii. trends in security incidents.
(c) report its findings in respect of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Article to the two Governments at six-monthly intervals; and, at the joint request of the two Governments, or if the Commission sees fit to do so, produce further reports on paramilitary activity on an ad hoc basis.