We recognise nevertheless, that circumstances could change quickly

As expected while the IMC’s 11th report focuses primarily on the security normalisation process, the section on the threat assessment will probably attract most interest.. Updated belowSo here are those paragraphs, which begin with an important caveat..

3.4 We must emphasise an important point about our assessment of the paramilitary threat. We deal with that threat only in so far as it bears directly on the implementation of the security normalisation programme. In broad terms, this means the actions of paramilitaries which require special security measures, for example military intervention or counter-terrorist legislation. It does not mean those activities of paramilitaries for which such measures are not necessary, even if those activities are serious. We
believe that organised crime involving paramilitaries falls into this category.

Such crime is different from terrorism or insurgency of the kind these measures are designed to combat and is a matter for the PSNI, AGS and other law enforcement agencies North and South. Accordingly, the assessment we make in the following paragraphs is necessarily narrower than it is in the reports we make on paramilitary activity as a whole under Article 4 of our remit. We will be making a broader assessment in our next Article 4 report, which we will deliver to the two Governments in October 2006.

And the assessments of the various groups..

3.5 With this in mind, the following are the key points about the paramilitary threat which seem to us to apply to security normalisation at the present time:

– We remain of the firm view that PIRA is committed to following a political path. It is not engaged in terrorist activity, by which we
mean undertaking attacks, planning or reconnoitring them, or developing a terrorist capability by, for example, procuring weapons or training members. The leadership is opposed to the use of violence in community control, has taken a stance against criminality and disorder amongst the membership, and has been engaged in successful dialogue to prevent violence during the 2006 parades season. Senior members are taking on roles in Sinn Féin and are encouraging other members to do the same or to engage in community work. The fact that PIRA retains a command and control structure does not in our view detract from this. Indeed, this structure is an important element in maintaining the organisation on its chosen path.[added emphasis]

– Dissident republicans do pose a continuing threat to the security forces and constitute the most significant security threat in
Northern Ireland. They have continued to engage in paramilitary activity and recent events have shown their wish to maintain their capability to do so. It remains the case however that they have been hampered in what they do both by their limited expertise and capacity and by the continuing efforts of law enforcement agencies North and South.

We do not think that at present loyalist paramilitaries are an active threat to the security forces although they remain involved in violence. In contrast to 2005, leaders contributed to a quiet parades season and some amongst them appear committed to ending criminality amongst their members. This latter has been more evident in the case of the UDA and may reflect a positive strategic decision. The UVF refusal to clarify its position in advance of 24 November 2006 remains a worry, not least in view of their refusal to decommission arms or in other ways to reduce their capability to revert to terrorism. All these groups remain strongly entrenched in certain local communities.[added emphasis]

There’s an interesting argument being deployed in the case of the PIRA leadership..

“The fact that PIRA retains a command and control structure does not in our view detract from this. Indeed, this structure is an important element in maintaining the organisation on its chosen path.”

It’s an argument that, at first, may be seen to be advancing The Process.. but any activity under such a command and control structure could still undermine progress, not least given the caveats of the previous IMC report

The IMC do, however, end the threat asessment on a cautious note..

3.6 From this we draw the following general conclusions about the paramilitary threat in relation to security normalisation:

– There is at present a certain level of threat to the lives and safety of members of the security forces from dissident republicans. This
threat could materialise in any part of Northern Ireland but is more likely to do so in certain specific areas.

– Following its statements and decommissioning, and given the strategy directed by the leadership, we do not think that PIRA presents a threat to the security forces or impediment to security normalisation.

– Loyalist paramilitary groups do not at present constitute an active terrorist-type threat to the security forces.

– The largely peaceful parades season this year has been in marked contrast to the violence in the summer and autumn of 2005. This is directly relevant to the question of army support to the police for the purpose of maintaining public order.

– We recognise nevertheless, as we did in our report 6 months ago, that circumstances could change quickly.

Updated Added emphasis to the Loyalist threat assessment.. and a commnet from Secxretary of State Peter Hain in this report, “”Clearly everyone in Northern Ireland is awaiting the IMC`s next report on paramilitary activity but, even without that report, it is clear that a dramatic shift has occurred in the threat posed by paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.”

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  • Chris Donnelly

    Speaking of threats- Today’s Antrim Guardian newspaper includes this gem from UPRG spokesman, Darren Smyth.

    Commenting on the prospect of a republican parade marching through Randalstown (a mixed- though majority nationalist- town which sees numerous loyal order parades annually), Mr. Smyth says:

    “[Locals] will reap the whirlwind…If this goes ahead I know there will be a huge backlash- and I’ll be standing there in the front line…I genuinely feel very sorry for the people of Randalstown if this gets the green light, because there will be big, big trouble in store.”

    Similar loyalist threats preceding the republican parade in Ballymena in Summer 2005 were followed up with a sustained campaign against catholics and catholic-owned businesses across north Antrim, particularly in the village of Ahoghill.

    Perhaps one for the IMC to watch….

  • POL

    All that public funding to tell us the ira are clean and to not tell us loyalism has been involved in all sorts of unsavoury business.Makes you think this unelected quango is set up for the sole purpose of monitoring republicans.

  • Peking

    “[Locals] will reap the whirlwind…If this goes ahead I know there will be a huge backlash- and I’ll be standing there in the front line…I genuinely feel very sorry for the people of Randalstown if this gets the green light, because there will be big, big trouble in store.”

    So speaks the shiny new UDA. Contemptible that someone can issue this sort of threat with complete immunity.

  • Ranger1640

    How interesting to hear the IMC say it was a good thing that a terror organization is still intact and keeping their structure.

    I thought P O’Neil said the IRA where going away.

    Will his holiness visit to the Middle East and the I love Hamas remarks and the US State department saying they were not happy with the Sinn Fein/IRA and Hamas love in, and B, liar on his last legs and perm-a-tan talking more Sheite than usual.

    Do they think the Unionists will give a fig what they all think? The Unionists are in the driving seat and will get the demands in, because when the next election comes-a-rollin along Big Ian will be doing the directing.

  • ciaran damery

    This report from the Brit quango will result in Sinn Féin sweeping the boards in the South. But we have yet to complete the war for Independence, so votes alone won’t do. Period!

  • Donnacha

    “Do they think the Unionists will give a fig what they all think?”
    Your sort of Unionist has certainly never given a fig what anyone thinks. Why not just tack on a “Never, never,never” onto your post for completeness’ sake?

  • Billy

    Ranger 1640

    “The Unionists are in the driving seat and will get the demands in”

    You almost always talk crap but this one exceeds your usual standard.

    I notice that the DUP has been incredily successful in stopping RIR disbandment, stopping the withdrawal of troops and closing of installations, – even getting the Drumcree parade through (not).

    In fact, their biggest “achievement” was getting an increase in the severance pay for full-time RIR members – WOW!!!.

    The DUP can prevent a local assembly from being formed and, personally, I hope they do so. The Westminster govt will then press ahead with the joint stewardship program (it doesn’t matter if TB is still Prime Minister or not – this is govt policy and the legislation is on the staute books ).

    With a whole 10 MPs, Unionism will be powerless at Westminster.

    Undoubtedly, Paisley (and people like you) will claim he’s been successful in keeping Sinn Fein out of local govt.

    True enough, but the increasing influence of the Free State govt in NI affairs will continue to grow. The influence of the nationalist community (45% and rising) will continue to grow.

    And the best thing is that there isn’t a damn thing that Paisley or you or anyone else can do about it.

  • David

    The IMC is operating on a purely political path. The Republicans are all good and Loyalists all bad. Neither statement is true. That is why the IMC is useless. Surely the DUP are not going to go into government with Sinn Fein because Alderdice tells them to.