IMC overendowed with political power?

Brian Feeney questions the decision to delegate what he argues should be a political decision on whether to act upon intelligence to the IMC, though as several speakers in the Commons debate yesterday pointed out, the IMC’s recommendations are being treated as purely consultative rather than executive.

Now the absurd aspect of this performance is that the NIO has access to all this stuff itself but normally in a democracy it would be a political decision whether to act on the intelligence or not. Incredibly the British administration handed that political responsibility to the IMC and thereby gave them a veto over political progress.

Nowhere else in the world does such nonsense operate. Even the IMC has to admit that. It was with some considerable disbelief that the Irish government watched this happening in 2004. You’ll notice that although the IMC has an office in the Republic you don’t hear them doing much huffing and puffing about paramilitary activity there.

Michael McDowell does that very well himself thank you by selecting his own intelligence reports to hand to favourite journalists. The Irish government retains political control. It is true and it must be acknowledged that, while the IMC handed the DUP a shiny bauble last week, there was and is no intention on the part of the DUP to cooperate in establishing functioning institutions under the Good Friday Agreement. That will remain the case until they cut a deal with Sinn Féin next year. Even if the IMC report had been entirely favourable to the IRA the DUP would still have professed itself unmoved.

  • Shore Road Resident

    An uncharacteristically weak article from Feeney.
    It is very easy to pick holes in his argument, for example:

    “You thought decommissioning was a matter agreed in the Good Friday Agreement to be dealt with by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) didn’t you?2”

    Well Brian, yes we did – but the Shinners sat on their stockpile for five years after the agreed decommissioning deadline, so obviously something else outside the Agreement was going to have to be done to shift them. Considering that both governments always knew full well where the arms were, occasional reports from the IMC were hardly the worst they could have done.

    Also, “You thought criminal justice was to be dealt with by the Criminal Justice Review in Annexe B of the Agreement didn’t you?”

    Well yes Brian, we did – but the Shinners have refused to budge one inch on policing and have tried to set up a parallel ‘CRJ’ policing system, despite the implementation so far of 75% of Patten with the rest due to be implemented by next year. So another few reports from the IMC are hardly a devestating response to that either.

    As for: “Nowhere else in the world does such nonsense operate.”

    Well Brian, let’s just say that you could make that observation about pretty much any party to the process…