Tackling Paramilitary Activity: “government funding will not be released until the Executive agrees a more detailed action plan”

As I noted in a post in September

In July, the NI First and deputy First Ministers and Justice Minister, Claire Sugden announced the publication of the NI Executive’s Action Plan for Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime – 147kb pdf file here. Costing £50 million over 5 years, it’s jointly funded, £25 million each, by the NI Executive and the Brits the British Government.

At the launch of that action plan

The [Northern Ireland First Minister, Arlene Foster, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Justice Minister, Claire Sugden] said “We believe the Fresh Start agreement and the Panel report, along with the outcomes-based approach to cross-Executive working as represented in the draft Programme for Government, provide a unique opportunity to tackle paramilitary activity collectively as an Executive, and in an ambitious and collaborative manner.

“This document sets out our strategic approach to tackling paramilitarism and organised crime.  It includes a series of actions that we will take, in conjunction with local communities, in pursuit of A Fresh Start, and in response to the recommendations made by the Panel, to address the impact of criminality and paramilitarism on our society.

And a BBC report added

In a joint statement, First Minister, Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Justice Minister Claire Sugden described the plan as a “challenging and ambitious programme”.

They said they were “determined to provide the leadership necessary to address this challenge and bring about a peaceful and prosperous future for our community”.

The £50m will be spent on the initiative during the next five years, with half the money coming from Stormont and the rest from Westminster.

An independent review commission will be established by the British and Irish governments to monitor progress.

The UK and Irish Governments signed a treaty to establish the Independent Reporting Commission in September.

Today, though, the BBC is now reporting that

It has emerged that Westminister has not yet released money to tackle paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland because Stormont ministers need to agree on a more detailed plan.

A total of £10m was to be set aside this year to tackle continuing paramilitary activity.

Half was to come from the devolved executive and half from Westminster.

The money is, however, subject to the assembly promoting a strategy to combat the terror threat.

Stormont finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “The Secretary of State has advised that the government funding will not be released until the Executive agrees a more detailed action plan.

“The Department of Justice will be progressing this to ensure access to this funding is secured,” he added.

After securing the agreement of the DUP and Sinn Féin to that more detailed action plan, natch…

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