Can we finally wind up the paramilitaries by consent? The panel report has been delivered

Striking a balance between recognising where local power lies and the aim of bringing paramilitarism to an end is the fiendishly tricky approach of the report to the two governments and the Executive of the three- person panel headed by John Alderdice. In the jargon the strategy is about Demilitarisation, Disbandment and Integration (DDR). The panel set up under Fresh Start was asked  to produce a one-off report. It wasn’t  a standing body like the International Monitoring Commission (IMC), of which … Read more

“Many will be expecting an inventory to be included in the report.”

Delayed until after the Assembly elections, today, as the BBC reports, the final reports of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) were published. On the final IMC report [pdf file] the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, said As the IMC themselves note, whilst the Commission has completed its remit, the security position In Northern Ireland is far from ideal. As the violence in a part of East Belfast recently revealed, there remain those … Read more

“If it turns out that the explosives found were Semtex…”

In a major police operation on the eve of Constable Ronan Kerr’s funeral the PSNI seized a quantity of weapons and explosives in Coalisland, County Tyrone – which they have described as “the most significant in recent years”.  Which was interesting timing… There have been two arrests in connection with Constable Kerr’s murder and further searches in the north Dublin area. From the BBC report The arms found were: • Four Kalashnikov rifles • Six loaded ammunition magazines • Timer power … Read more

“the reports will be published after the Assembly elections…”

As the BBC reports, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, has announced the dissolution of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD). The IICD archive is to be held at Boston College, as Kevin Cullen reports Thomas E. Hachey, executive director of the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College and a professor of history, said getting the archive was a coup for BC. “This is an incredibly valuable collection for future … Read more

IMC to be stepped down…

I remember the IMC mostly for way they used to kindly make their online reports available to us the night before the official press launch. It was born in controversy after the IRA once more came up short for David Trimble in October 2003. At first, it was attacked by both Sinn Fein (its primary object of scrutiny in the early days at least) and the DUP. Much of the controversy revolved around the fact that in compiling its reports, … Read more

IMC report on Bobby Moffett’s murder

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that the Independent Monitoring Commission’s investigation into the murder of Bobby Moffett has concluded that his murder was sanctioned by the UVF leadership. From The Belfast Telegraph: The IMC has found that the UVF leadership decided Moffett should be shot to eliminate the threat he posed to individual members of the organisation and to send a wider message to the loyalist community that the UVF would not tolerate its authority being flouted. If anyone hoped … Read more

“It is very sinister in terms of the direction the UVF is taking as a group…”

The BBC report that, following a Policing Board meeting, Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris has said that UVF sanctioning of the murder of Bobby Moffett was “an active line of enquiry”. Additionally, from the same BBC report ACC Harris said the UVF remained a coherent organisation. “The UVF remains very much an organised entity. “So I wouldn’t recognise a description which described them as being fractured in any way. They are a group which still has its own internal discipline intact.” … Read more

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 … Read more