“Where organisations are no longer a threat..”

Speculation about a revised list of proscribed organisations in Northern Ireland, following Lord Carlile’s review [pdf file] of the 2007 operation of the Terrorism Act 2000, was initially met with a fairly bland NIO response, as noted in this Belfast Telegraph report. The BBC, however, have a more robust line from the NIO – “Lord Carlile was referring in his report to groups he suggests no longer exist, not to the IRA.” But the detail of Lord Carlile’s report isn’t as clear as the NIO suggest [page 49]

246. The specification of proscribed organisations remains necessary, having regard to the continuing danger posed by dissident terrorist groups, those which have placed themselves entirely outside the sphere of influence of the Northern Ireland democratic institutions and political parties despite recent developments. Careful consideration is given to issues of proscription and de-proscription, with the public interest as the key factor. Where organisations are no longer a threat, or no longer exist, they should be deproscribed. [added emphasis]

And with a Sinn Féin spokesman being quoted as saying “Regardless of what Lord Carlile and the NIO say, the reality is the legislation should be removed from the statute books.” [All of the reviewed legislation? – Ed] The UK government’s response is perhaps worth noting [pdf file]

As you say, any organisation or other person affected by a proscription should apply to the Home Secretary in the first instance for the organisation to be deproscribed, and if that request is refused they may then appeal that refusal to the POAC

And on the specific Northern Ireland provisions the government’s response was

We are very grateful to you for your work in reviewing the temporary Northern Ireland provisions. It is a mark of the tremendous progress made there that these provisions have now all been repealed, but the assurance provided by their use during the seven months of 2007 during which they were in place is important in providing transparency and public confidence in the application of the law.

Terrorism law in Northern Ireland is now largely the same as that in the rest of the UK. Sadly, the permament provisions remain necessary there, both in respect of the threat from loyalist and dissident republicans, but also the threat from international terrorism. Your reviews will continue to include the operation of the permanent provisions in NI as well.