IMC reports amid talks gloom
IMC reports amid talks gloom

The Independent Monitoring Commission’s latest report into paramilitary activity in the North lacks credibility, Sinn Féin has said.

In its report published in Belfast, the commission welcomed Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ appeal to the IRA to abandon the armed struggle for a peaceful democratic alternative.

However, it said new IRA members were being recruited and “trained in the use of firearms and explosives” and that the IRA was “heavily involved in criminal activity”.

The report did state that there was no present evidence to suggest the IRA intended to resume violent activity.

The body has been repeatedly dismissed by republicans as an organ of the British government.

Alex Maskey, the Sinn Féin assembly member for south Belfast, said: “The IMC was set up at the behest of the unionists and is the tool of the British securocrats. It was created and has been used to discriminate against Sinn Féin and our electorate.

“This report, like the previous reports, is based solely on the information provided to the IMC by the securocrats. It has little or no credibility and is neither impartial, fair nor balanced.”


Meanwhile, the SDLP has again ruled out joining an administration in Belfast which excludes Sinn Féin.

The leader of the nationalist party, Mark Durkan, made it clear that British Prime Minister Tony Blair knew his party had rejected the suggestion.

Earlier yesterday the DUP welcomed what they believed to be an indication from Mr Blair that excluding Sinn Féin from devolved government was an option.

During prime minister’s questions at the Westminster parliament, Mr Blair told the SDLP’s Eddie McGrady it would be “far better” to find a way forward which included Sinn Féin. He claimed there were only “two ways forward”.

“One is inclusive of Sinn Féin and for that to happen there has to be a complete end to all forms of paramilitary or criminal activity as the Good Friday Agreement indicates,” he told the South Down MP.

“Or, alternatively, a way forward without Sinn Féin which actually depends on your party.”

However in a statement last night Mr Durkan said: “The prime minister knows we have rejected voluntary coalition.

“We have also rejected the DUP proposal for accountable direct rule. It was significant that the prime minister did not even put that proposal to us.

“Accountability and direct rule are contradictions in terms, rather like a Democratic Unionist Party is a contradiction in terms. We have no interest in failed initiatives of the past or alternatives to the Good Friday Agreement.”


Meanwhile, former United States president Bill Clinton has been denounced by Ian Paisley after he urged the British and Irish governments to stick with the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Clinton was in Dublin this week, where he met Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams. He said that there was no viable alternative to the Good Friday Agreement.

“The public do not want to go back to the conflict. They’ve sent us a loud and clear signal they want politicians to arrange things so they can go on with their lives,” Mr Clinton said.

Paisley accused Mr Clinton of being “a fellow traveller with IRA/Sinn Féin”.

“The discredited ex-President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton, simply revealed his unmitigated cheek in going to a country that wants to destroy Ulster’s place in the United Kingdom and then lectures us that our democratic expression of our own future must be set aside to conform to the will of the country that claims supremacy over it.

“Clinton cannot have his way to force IRA/Sinn Féin terrorists into the government of this part of the United Kingdom, as I told him to his face when he was in Belfast,” he said.

Accusing Sinn Féin of fascism, Mr Paisley said that nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan was also tainted by any association with Sinn Féin.

“Their united Ireland is a dream never to gain reality,” Mr Paisley delcared.

Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said the DUP should not be allowed to block progress or destroy the peace process.

Mr McGuinness was speaking before departing for the US on a two-day visit to Washington and New York.

Mr McGuinness said the DUP’s increased mandate must bring with it a more responsible approach.

He said: “They can join in the process of making peace and despite their record of bigotry and intolerance we will work with them.

“But there will be no return to the failed policies of the past. The days of unionist domination are gone forever.

“The DUP cannot be allowed to block progress or to destroy a process which has achieved so much.”

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