Tackling Paramilitary Activity: “government funding will not be released until the Executive agrees a more detailed action plan”

As I noted in a post in September

In July, the NI First and deputy First Ministers and Justice Minister, Claire Sugden announced the publication of the NI Executive’s Action Plan for Tackling Paramilitary Activity, Criminality and Organised Crime – 147kb pdf file here. Costing £50 million over 5 years, it’s jointly funded, £25 million each, by the NI Executive and the Brits the British Government.

At the launch of that action plan

The [Northern Ireland First Minister, Arlene Foster, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Justice Minister, Claire Sugden] said “We believe the Fresh Start agreement and the Panel report, along with the outcomes-based approach to cross-Executive working as represented in the draft Programme for Government, provide a unique opportunity to tackle paramilitary activity collectively as an Executive, and in an ambitious and collaborative manner.

“This document sets out our strategic approach to tackling paramilitarism and organised crime.  It includes a series of actions that we will take, in conjunction with local communities, in pursuit of A Fresh Start, and in response to the recommendations made by the Panel, to address the impact of criminality and paramilitarism on our society.

And a BBC report added

In a joint statement, First Minister, Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Justice Minister Claire Sugden described the plan as a “challenging and ambitious programme”.

They said they were “determined to provide the leadership necessary to address this challenge and bring about a peaceful and prosperous future for our community”.

The £50m will be spent on the initiative during the next five years, with half the money coming from Stormont and the rest from Westminster.

An independent review commission will be established by the British and Irish governments to monitor progress.

The UK and Irish Governments signed a treaty to establish the Independent Reporting Commission in September.

Today, though, the BBC is now reporting that

It has emerged that Westminister has not yet released money to tackle paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland because Stormont ministers need to agree on a more detailed plan.

A total of £10m was to be set aside this year to tackle continuing paramilitary activity.

Half was to come from the devolved executive and half from Westminster.

The money is, however, subject to the assembly promoting a strategy to combat the terror threat.

Stormont finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “The Secretary of State has advised that the government funding will not be released until the Executive agrees a more detailed action plan.

“The Department of Justice will be progressing this to ensure access to this funding is secured,” he added.

After securing the agreement of the DUP and Sinn Féin to that more detailed action plan, natch…

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  • chrisjones2

    Undre Fresh Start wasnt it all supposed to have been agreed and done and in place by June?

    4.3 Before the end of June 2016, the Executive will publish an action plan including all of the above measures, together with timescales for implementation.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/479116/A_Fresh_Start_-_The_Stormont_Agreement_and_Implementation_Plan_-_Final_Version_20_Nov_2015_for_PDF.pdf

    So no timetables, no targets, no cash ……but money from Europe of course as a bung to the UDA because they think PIRA have had loads of bungs so there must be equality on the bung front

    Now if MInisters havent delivered this are they not themselevs also in Breach of paras 2.5 to 2.8 of Fresh Start

    2.5 All the parties to this Agreement remain fully dedicated to each and all of these
    principles and further commit to:

     work collectively to achieve a society free of paramilitarism;
     support the rule of law unequivocally in word and deed and support all efforts to
    uphold it;
     challenge all paramilitary activity and associated criminality;
     call for, and work together to achieve, the disbandment of all paramilitary
    organisations and their structures;
     challenge paramilitary attempts to control communities;
     support those who are determined to make the transition away from
    paramilitarism; and
     accept no authority, direction or control on our political activities other than our
    democratic mandate alongside our own personal and party judgment.

    2.6 These commitments shall also be added to the Pledge of Office as a requirement of a person taking Ministerial office through an amendment of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

    2.7 They will also form the basis of a new undertaking, in Assembly standing orders, for each Member of the Legislative Assembly analogous to the previous obligations on those in local government.

    2.8 In committing to these principles the parties do not agree simply to a passive
    acceptance of these values but to an active fulfilment of them.”

    So just where is the old evidence of “working collectively to achieve a society free of paramilitarism”? MIssed timetables and targets? Lack of a plan? What have they actually done?

    Are they deliberately dragging their collective heels on this or is it just that they are incompetent? Would the Opposition like to ask?

  • Séamus

    The Executive can always keep throwing that SIF money at whomever they like.

  • AntrimGael

    The ‘Peace Process’ is an oxymoron and even Monty Python couldn’t have come up with such a ridiculous farce. The Stormont Executive is a cosy cartel designed to keep a Provisional Republican elite, the DUP and Uncle Andy, Big Mervyn types happy. The Sinners and DUPers do all the deals with the Provos and UDA/UVF looking over their shoulders and rubber stamping everything.The British and Irish governments only care about pleasing this crowd; they don’t give a fiddlers about anything else and the masses can go whistle Dixie as far as they are concerned.

  • chrisjones2

    Isnt it funny that a post like this does not attract comments

    I assume there is a fatwa to ‘say nothing’ lest the boat be rocked.Thats why we need an opposition

  • Gingray

    Same story, repeated over and over again. Rocks your boat perhaps, boring for the vast majority of us

  • chrisjones2

    Yes Politicians in league with criminals.What’s to worry about

  • Gingray

    Hardly a novel story surely? UK government continues to support and fund criminals all over the place, but that’s hardly had you complaining about your beloved Tories.

  • chrisjones2

    Which criminals have you in mind?

  • Gingray

    Take your pick! Saudis, Libyan, Pinochet, Al Qaeda in Syria, Mujahadeen in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, regardless of the government, the UK has a long and proud history of supporting and funding criminals.

    Zero bankers prosecuted for the financial crash, Tory party receives record donations from financial sector. Levinson enquiry watered down, Tories backed by vast majority of press.

    My personal favourite was the British army in Afghanistan essentially guaranteeing heroin cultivation and lo and behold, knock on effect of that was a drop in UK prices and more gangs and addicts.

    And the UK are not alone, most governments support and even condone criminal behaviour.

    I’m just shocked that you seem to feel its unique to Northern Ireland.

  • chrisjones2

    Ah yes…..the Brits are responsible for everything meme.You left out Acid Rain, Global Warming, Sunspots and Elboa

    Is there anyone you dont detest?

  • Gingray

    Not at all – as I said, most governments do the same, and I neither detest the British government or feel they are the worst culprit.

    However your original comment implied an imposed silence on government working with criminals.

    I am merely pointing out that you, a self declared, proud Tory, must be aware that the UK government happily works with criminals across a wide range of areas, yet, like most of us, you see little point in commenting on it any more.

    £50m for tackling paramilitary activity, £500bn to bail out the UK banks, its a joke, but thats politics for you. At least your party did well, since the crash over 50% of Tory donations came from a financial sector that got away with defrauding the public.