23rd IMC Report: “skills are more significant than mere numbers”

As the BBC reports, the 23rd Independent Monitoring Commission report has been published online [pdf file].  NI Secretary of State Owen Paterson responds here.  Meanwhile RTÉ notes Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd calling for the IMC to be wound up

Mr O’Dowd said the Commission was no part of the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement and had been set up as a unionist comfort blanket.

He said it had no role to play in the political process.

‘No doubt the IMC will produce their usual and predictable report, the contents of which will have no influence on the political process.

‘This is the function it has played for the past six years. It is a leftover from David Trimble’s era and one which is little more than a cash cow for those involved’, Mr O’Dowd said.

‘Can anyone seriously justify continuing to pump millions of pounds of public money into the IMC particularly at a time when there are real and acute pressures on frontline services in education, health and other areas,’ he asked.

Adds For the record, the last available audited accounts for the IMC [pdf file], presented to Parliament on 6 April 2010, show

Operating Cost Statement for the year ended 31 March 2008

Total expenditure

2007 – £866,315

2008 – £664,795