1.3 In line with Article 4, this report covers the activities of all paramilitary groups, not just PIRA, although we recognise that it is PIRA which is likely to be the main focus of attention in present circumstances.
The report covers three months from 1 September to 30 November 2006. Given the current political situation the obvious section that will receive immediate scrutiny is that of PIRA activity –
2.16 There have been a number of developments in the three months under review. Taking the main issues in turn:
– Terrorist activity – PIRA has not been involved either in incidents (such as attacks on the security forces) or preparatory acts (such as recruitment, training, weapons procurement and development, or targeting). The disbandment of paramilitary structures to which we referred last time and the absence of activity means that the deterioration of terrorist capability continues. Some members who had shown an interest in acquiring small arms for their own purposes appear not to have followed their inclinations through; to do so would have been in clear contravention of instructions. A number of PIRA members have taken up political roles in Sinn Féin in furtherance of the commitment to follow the political path;
– Shootings and assaults – We are satisfied that PIRA has not been responsible for either. This is despite some community pressure to allow violent measures against those thought to be acting antisocially;
– Intelligence gathering – It remains our view that PIRA is not gathering intelligence for paramilitary or other unlawful purposes. It does gather information to support its political strategy and it continues to receive information from sympathisers. Within communities members are sometimes involved in gathering information about alleged criminal or anti-social behaviour but there is no indication that such information is then used for violent or other improper purposes. The organisation continues to gather information about suspected informers or dissidents, but again there is no indication that it has been used to support illegal activity;
– Sectarian violence or intimidation – We do not believe that PIRA has been engaged in any such activity;
– Other forms of crime – PIRA as an organisation continues not to be involved and there are indications that in response to the leadership the involvement of individual members has declined. Nevertheless, some continue to be engaged in crime, including offences such as smuggling, fuel laundering and tax evasion. Such activity is now contrary to the policy of the organisation;
– Exiling – We do not think that PIRA has been involved. Its approach has significantly changed for the better in the past few months. While the organisation has not positively invited people to return to Northern Ireland some have recently done so and we believe that PIRA has neither directed nor sanctioned reprisals in such circumstances;
– Fund raising – There is no indication that PIRA is using criminal methods to raise funds, although it continues to seek and receive contributions towards wider social, political and cultural activities through lawful means. As before, we are unable to assess how it is handling the question of previously illegally gained funds. However the law enforcement agencies North and South continue actively to pursue such assets.
The report also states
2.21 Our overall view therefore remains positive, as it was when we reported three months ago. The strategy of pursuing the political path is clear, as in our view is the commitment of the leadership to it. We have seen additional evidence of the trends we noted before, including the continuing efforts of the leadership to ensure its successful implementation of the strategy. We have also seen evidence of its further consolidation, most notably the decision to support policing and the criminal justice system.