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Written Statement by Peter Hain on the publication of the Tenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), (26 April 2006)

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Text: Peter Hain... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Written Statement by Peter Hain, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, on the publication of the Tenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), (26 April 2006)


"I have received the Tenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). This report has been made under Articles 4 and 7 of the International Agreement that established the Commission. I have considered the content of the report and I am today bringing it before Parliament. I have placed copies in the Library of the House.

The Commission have provided an assessment of ongoing levels of paramilitary activity and criminality.

In respect of the Provisional IRA, the report states that " remains our absolutely clear view that the PIRA leadership has committed itself to following a peaceful path. It is working to bring the whole organisation fully along with it and has expended considerable effort to refocus the movement in support of its objective". The report also observes that " the last three months this process has involved the further dismantling of PIRA as a military structure"

The report notes that progress with regards to other paramilitary groups remains "extremely uneven". It further notes that "...dissident republicans remain determinedly committed to terrorism and deeply engaged in other crime, but they are not always capable of fulfilling their paramilitary ambitions and have recently been foiled by successful police operations. The indications on the loyalist side that some would like to wean the paramilitary groups from violence to community and other lawful activities have still to bear significant fruit."

The report recognises that some organised crime continues, and is an issue for both republican and loyalist paramilitaries. However, it notes, "...we have found signs that PIRA continues to seek to stop criminal activity by its members and to prevent them from engaging in it. We believe that some senior PIRA members may be playing a key role in this. This seems to us to be in accordance with the publicly articulated strategy. We believe that volunteers who had previously engaged in illegal fundraising have been told to refrain from doing so." The report observes that some members of PIRA remain involved in organised crime but categorises them "as distinct from the organisation itself".

On the issue of arms, the report states that "...we did not say three months ago that the PIRA leadership had in any way given instructions to retain arms. Indeed, our present assessment is that such of the arms as were reported to us as having been retained, would have been withheld under local control despite the instructions of the leadership. We note that, as reported by the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD), the leadership claimed only to have decommissioned all the arms "...under its control". The relevant points are that the amount of un-surrendered material was not significant in comparison to what was decommissioned and that these reports do not cast doubt on the declared intention of the PIRA leadership to eschew terrorism and to follow the political path. We will continue to monitor the position."

On the issue of intelligence gathering, the report notes that "...though PIRA has access to people in positions in public and private organisations who could provide them with sensitive information on individuals which might be of use to them, we have no indication that people are currently being tasked to supply such information. While PIRA continues to receive information from members and sympathisers we do not know of information being proactively sought." The report goes on to state that "...we are currently not aware of intelligence-related activity which is outside the aims of the July statement."

The Government believes that this report provides further evidence of the direction of movement that PIRA and its leadership are taking in accordance with its commitments on July 28 2005. The report is positive in that respect and the Government believes that it should make a helpful contribution to the rebuilding of trust and confidence in Northern Ireland which is necessary for a return to full devolution.

Once again, I am grateful to the Commission for their submission of this report and for its careful analysis."


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