Next up, the PUP and UPRG. Discuss.Previously: IMC on Leadership: Who’s in charge around here?
5.1 Article 4 of the International Agreement requires us to assess whether the leadership of paramilitary groups is directing illegal activities or seeking to prevent them.
5.2 We continue to apply to those in positions of leadership in political parties associated with paramilitary groups the standards we first set out in our Fifth Report in May 2005, and which we reiterated in our last report three months ago. We believe that they should articulate their opposition to all forms of illegality; should exert their influence against members of paramilitary groups who have not given up crime; and should give clear support to the criminal justice system.
5.3 There are two political parties to whom these standards are particularly relevant – Sinn Féin and the Progressive Unionist Party. They also apply to the Ulster Political Research Group.
5.9 In the case of the PUP, we had recommended in our Fifth Report in May 2005 that the Secretary of State should continue the financial measures against it which had been imposed in April 2004, to run for twelve months. By these measures the Secretary of State had removed the party’s financial support in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Secretary of State decided not to implement the recommendations we made in our Fifth Report, which we saw no grounds for rescinding in our Seventh Report in October 2005. In consequence the PUP has been in receipt of its Assembly allowances since April 2005.
5.10 In the course of preparing this present report we have examined closely the role of the PUP in relation to the UVF and RHC, to which we refer in paragraphs 3.32 – 3.35. We note the considerable efforts on the part of the PUP leadership to end the UVF’s feud with the LVF in the late summer, and the lead it has given on the need for the UVF to change their attitude to violence and other crime. We believe the leadership has put energy into this positive step. There have been some indications of early progress and we hope that its efforts will show success. We will return to this matter in future reports. In the light of these developments we do not think that financial measures against the PUP are appropriate at this time.
5.11 We believe that the UPRG has also begun to make some progress. It has engaged in discussions designed to move things in a better direction and in efforts to influence the UDA. In our view it recognises the importance of ending violence and other crime if local communities are to develop, and it has focused on means of trying to secure these developments. We welcome the steps it has taken and hope they will progress much further. We will return to this in future reports.