Ford sets out benchmarks for progress

Courtesy of the excellent Newshound. In The Irish News William Graham reports that “The Alliance Party has set out a series of bench-marks against which it believes the British and Irish governments and other parties should assess any future IRA[et al] statement.”Alliance Party leader David Ford “said that throughout the peace process, too much attention has fallen on decommissioning at the expense of a full debate on what was required of republicans and loyalists.” –

The Alliance Party suggests the following benchmarks:

– the IRA must declare an end to all involvement in any paramilitary and criminal activity and, through exclusively lawful means, ensure that its activists desist immediately

– where individual republicans are involved in paramilitary or criminal activity, others must pass on any information to the lawful authorities

– the republican movement must accept the full legitimacy of both the northern and southern states with respect to policing and criminal justice

– all IRA ‘front’ organisations and organised crime networks must be dismantled

– the IRA Army Council must end all recruitment, training and intelligence gathering and stand down all its rank and file members. Once this is carried out and weapons are decommissioned, the organisation, including command structures, must disband

– the republican movement must renounce the right to engage in ‘community policing’ or to engage in what is termed ‘internal housekeeping’. There must be an end to all paramilitary beatings and shootings

– the practice of exiling both inside and outside Northern Ireland must come to an end

– all illegally held weapons and explosives to be decommissioned under the aegis of the Decommissioning Commission

– republicans must co-operate fully with the Commission for the Disappeared and both police services in recovering the remains of ‘the disappeared’

– republicans must give a commitment not to export their terrorist techniques and expertise to other organisations.

It’s an interesting list.. but it’s unlikely to be fully matched by any eventual statement from the Provisional Movement – never mind any of the other paramilitary groups.

My own view.. for what it’s worth.. is that what will emerge is a statement that holds out the promise of meeting some of those benchmarks.. as part of a process that is reliant on further moves by both the Irish and British Governments.

And around we will go again…