Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has emphasised that a firm commitment to end to all paramilitary activity must be the primary confidence-building measure required from both Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries in the coming Talks Process.
Dr Farry stated:
“Once again, the political debate is focusing on the issue of IRA decommissioning. While decommissioning is of itself of major importance, it is crucial not to neglect the even more crucial issue of an end to all paramilitary activity.
“For too long, the paramilitaries on both sides have been allowed to draw arbitrary distinctions between their self-defined ceasefires dealing with an end to attacks upon the state or the so-called ‘other side’ while continuing to engage in a wide range of other illegal activities including paramilitary attacks and exiling.
“Through Article 13 of the Joint Declaration, and the creation of the IMC, the Governments have at long last recognised that any paramilitary activity is inconsistent with a place in government, and is a cancer upon society.
“However, in their statements, Republicans have yet to unambiguously indicate an end to all paramilitary activity. While their language has been positive, it has been couched in terms such as ‘an end to the conflict’ or ‘no activity inconsistent with the Good Friday Agreement’.
“If we are to have a future based upon democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, we must have a clear end to all paramilitary activity. In the pressure to strike a deal this autumn, this reality must not be overlooked.”