Irish Republican News · November 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IMC reports again

The third report of the Independent Monitoring Commission has been dismissed by Irish republicans.

The body was set up outside the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in response to lobbying by the unionist parties.

It reports on paramilitary activity, drawing on British police and military sources, to embarrass Sinn Féin in the political talks process and justify fines and sanctions against the party.

Its third report claimed there was a reduction in activity by the Provisional IRA from March to October this year, and that there was a fall in the incidence of IRA “punishment” attacks.

“PIRA has committed no murders and has engaged in a lower level of violence than in the preceding period, committing fewer paramilitary shootings and assaults,” the IMC reported.

But it saw no signs of the organisation scaling down its capability. It said the IRA was continuing to recruit, although in small numbers, and gather intelligence.

It blamed the IRA for a multi-million pound robbery of goods from a store outside Belfast, in May and said it was “engaged in significant amounts of smuggling”.

“In the South of Ireland certain of the organised (IRA) criminal activity seems to have been closed down, and we have found no recent evidence of violent paramilitary activity,” it added.

“We conclude that since our last report [ in April] there is no fundamental change in the capacity of the organisation or its maintenance of a state of preparedness, but we also find no evidence of activity that might presage a return to a paramilitary campaign,” the IMC stated.

The commission also reported that the Republican INLA, Real IRA and Continuity IRA, as well as the unionist paramilitary UVF, Red Hand Commando, UDA, LVF, were all engaged in violence and organised crime. It also referred to UVF racist attacks and some “vicious” UDA sectarian attacks.

Sinn Féin said supporters of the Good Friday Agreement could not “pander to the IMC and allow it to exert a negative influence” over the peace process.

The party’s policing spokesman Gerry Kelly pointed out that the reoprts were based on material provided by ‘securocrat’ organisations opposed to the peace process and opposed to the Good Friday agreement.

“Previous reports have already been exposed as riddled with inaccuracies. Given these facts the IMC has no credibility within the broad nationalist and republican community and the contents of this latest report are of little interest to it.

“ The focus of Sinn Féin at this time is to see the Good Friday Agreement implemented. We will not allow the IMC or anyone else to subvert that Agreement. The IMC operates entirely outside the terms of the Agreement. Parties cannot on one hand claim to support the Good Friday Agreement and on the other pander to the IMC and allow it to exert a negative influence over the process.”

Mr Mark Durkan, the SDLP leader, countered saying there was no such thing as an acceptable level of paramilitary activity.

“Sinn Féin in their predictable, dismissive attacks are trying to ignore the facts of what the IMC is reporting on. They are neither figments of the IMC’s imaginations or other peoples briefings.”

Ulster Unionist Sir Reg Empey said the IMC was the brainchild of his party and those who “slated [ it] as a toothless and a meaningless body” were now fully using its findings to assess their own political position.

The DUP leader Ian Paisley, said: “Now is the time for action from the government... It is time to get tough with Sinn Féin/IRA.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News