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Independent Monitoring Commission

Volume 714: debated on Wednesday 4 November 2009


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have received the 22nd reports of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). This report has been made under Articles 4 and 7 of the international agreement that established the commission and it reports on levels of paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland. 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 IMC reports on the serious threat posed by dissident republicans. It concludes that the activities of both the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, including the murders of Sappers Quinsey and Azimkar and PC Carroll in March, and a number of other extremely serious incidents, are designed to undermine peaceful political progress.

The IMC notes that the completion of devolution could be a potent intervention “because policing and justice would no longer be a point of contention across the political divide” but rather be “a platform for co-operation against those trying to undermine the peace process”. The Government remain committed to do all they can to provide a solid foundation for a devolved Department of Justice.

The IMC also acknowledges the very real progress towards decommissioning made by loyalists. It concludes that the UVF is an organisation on its way to going out of business, and that the leadership of the UDA has given a significant lead to change the organisation and shown remarkable commitment and progress in community development. I, too, hope that the UDA will follow through on the commitments it has made and complete the decommissioning process.